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Geraldine Taylor Oct 2017
Change

Verse 1
It starts right deep inside of me, a true grasp on identity
The present moment is the place to be, regardless of who's watching me
It’s plain to see, comprehensively, no real gain comes easily
Whether to the left or right of me, time in motion, truly free
To persevere is the truest reward, ride this train be truly on board
This right here to truly afford, come together, one accord
A single mind retrain able, good grades are attainable
Accomplish the impossible, you can be unstoppable
A single step to take, of directions moving on
Keep it moving in forward motion, articulate my song
With an aim of harmony, we can but soldier on
We must create a place, with a feeling to belong

Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

There are challenges that are facing me, complex to simplicity
Teams move forward socially, share discussions vocally
To stand as one, it’s just begun
Separation can’t become
A team with victory truly won
A united cause, brought as one
Determination is the real deal, certified replacing the seal
Energy the people can feel
A new beginning, fresh appeal
A brand new chapter practical
Solutions that are workable
Greatness is achievable
Concepts are conceivable
A new journey to take, whether short or whether long
Keep on moving forward, embracing a new song
With amicability, we all will progress on
Let’s create a place, with a feeling to belong

Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

Chorus
There is ever present change, many thoughts to rearrange
Together we can change the world, let’s rewrite the page
There are many forms of strong, yet we all must soldier on
Together as one, together as one
For each and every fight, is a chance to so unite
Every lesson in the wrong, it can be rendered right
There is opportunity, be the change you want to see
Let’s set ourselves free, let’s set ourselves free
In time, beyond the impossible
Breaking through every obstacle
By faith from the intangible
Objects, they are exchangeable
Yet lives are irreplaceable
Real change is attainable

Verse 2
To offer forth a helping hand, notions yet to understand
To be welcomed in a foreign land, disharmony is sinking sand
It’s clear to see, comprehensively, operate more tactfully
With wisdom understandably, let the innocent be truly free
A greater love that can’t be defined, to comprehend the passage of time
Appreciation truly is mine, reverence beyond the sky
Of nature undeniable, progress transformational
Advancing the responsible, of wonderment sensational
A single step to take, cultivated going strong
Keep it moving in forward motion, can we all just get along
With advancing harmony, on a road that may be long
Let’s now create a place, with a feeling to belong

Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

Advancing with a point of view, discernment of what’s really true
Comprehension of what’s true for you, of new horizons to ensue
With a faculty of proficiency, movements of efficiency
With complex capability, time in motion, skillfully
Experience that can be applied, universal always onside
Letting go of innermost pride
Truthfulness, no need to hide
Application practical, let your goals be reachable
In him all things possible, passionately powerful
With awareness to awake, with weakness rendered strong
Keep moving in forward motion, articulate my song
With all tranquillity, uncover what is wrong
We can now create a place, with a feeling to belong

Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

Chorus
There is ever present change, many thoughts to rearrange
Together we can change the world, let’s rewrite the page
There are many forms of strong, yet we all must soldier on
Together as one, together as one
For each and every fight, is a chance to so unite
Every lesson in the wrong, it can be rendered right
There is opportunity, be the change you want to see
Let’s set ourselves free, let’s set ourselves free
In time, beyond the impossible
Breaking through every obstacle
By faith from the intangible
Objects, they are exchangeable
Yet lives are irreplaceable
Real change is attainable

Verse 3
Let actions be effectual, real change be perpetual
Creative with the intellectual, let guidance be instructional
Be rational, co-operational, shared ideas are practical
Measuring the mathematical, alignment formational
Aiming high reach for the sky
Given standards you can defy
With courage here the aim is to try
Moving forward, mystify
Far from the undesirable, feelings unreliable
Testing the improbable, reality is changeable
A bolder step to take, of directions moving strong
You can always go beyond the place that you came from
With realised clarity, we gain sense of the wrong
Let’s now create a place, where we can all belong

Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

Change may be uncomfortable, let fear be inexcusable
Steer from the reprehensible, payback is repayable
To so forgive, inexhaustible
Of oneness that is plausible, the broken rectifiable
Connected, relational
Associate and we can relate, don’t waste time, a pitiless state
Memories that we cannot retake, in position, get in place
Abundance that is plentiful, examples observational
Joyfulness obtainable, experience the seasonal
Of actions yet to take, we’re keeping the game strong
Keep moving in forward motion, wherever you came from
With avid harmony, we all will soldier on
We can now create a place, with a feeling to belong

Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

Bridge

With mind-sets evolved, there is true insight
Let’s create a place, to truly shine our light
There is wisdom to release, to regain our inner peace
Together as one, together as one
Compassion in the land, with a heart to understand
A true united force, let’s lend a helping hand
With due simplicity, re-establish harmony
Let’s set ourselves free, let’s set ourselves free
True change may be uncomfortable
Yet it is unmistakeable
New steps that are approachable
Of thoughts from the conventional
Mindful and relatable
Hopeful and aspirational

Verse 4
To go beyond, no greater time, reclaim your light it’s time to shine
In relaxed mode we will decline, natural gems can be refined
Branch of the vine, be aligned
Masterpieces of design, purposed for potential prime
Stand in line, for such a time
Become a part of the solution, let’s create a revolution
Educate the institution, truly merge into a fusion
Reduce the confrontational, join the inspirational
Movement motivational, achieve the aspirational
The journey will be great, endurance may be long
Keep moving in forward motion, can we all just get along
With solid harmony, a team can become strong
Let's now create a place, with the option to belong
Of problems to be solved, of all the games to win
If the foundation is laid, by then we can begin
A sense of harmony, let's take the vision on
Let’s now create a place, where the people can belong


Let’s begin and start a new change
For in time we truly can change, subtle change, ample change, some folks just ain’t trying to change
Aim real high towards the change
Constant force, there’s always change
Release control with all the change
For yes in time we can truly change
Smaller change, greater change
So much here to rearrange
New concepts are hardly strange
Stand united welcome change
Restoration welcome change
Conservation bring the change
Re-establish forward change
For yes in time we will truly change

Chorus
There is ever present change, many thoughts to rearrange
Together we can change the world, let’s rewrite the page
There are many forms of strong, yet we all must soldier on
Together as one, together as one
For each and every fight, is a chance to so unite
Every lesson in the wrong, it can be rendered right
There is opportunity, be the change you want to see
Let’s set ourselves free, let’s set ourselves free
In time, beyond the impossible
Breaking through every obstacle
By faith from the intangible
Objects, they are exchangeable
Yet lives are irreplaceable
Real change is attainable

Written by Geraldine Taylor ©️
by
Alexander K Opicho

(Eldoret, Kenya;aopicho@yahoo.com)

When I grow up I will seek permission
From my parents, my mother before my father
To travel to Russia the European land of dystopia
that has never known democracy in any tincture
I will beckon the tsar of Russia to open for me
Their classical cipher that Bogy visoky tsa dalyko
I will ask the daughters of Russia to oblivionize my dark skin
***** skin and make love to me the real pre-democratic love
Love that calls for ambers that will claw the fire of revolution,
I will ask my love from the land of Siberia to show me cradle of Rand
The European manger on which Ayn Rand was born during the Leninist census
I will exhume her umbilical cord plus the placenta to link me up
To her dystopian mind that germinated the vice
For shrugging the atlas for we the living ones,
In a full dint of my ***** libido I will ask her
With my African temerarious manner I will bother her
To show me the bronze statues of Alexander Pushkin
I hear it is at ******* of the city of Moscow; Petersburg
I will talk to my brother Pushkin, my fellow African born in Ethiopia
In the family of Godunov only taken to Europe in a slave raid
Ask the Frenchman Henri Troyat who stood with his ***** erected
As he watched an Ethiopian father fertilizing an Ethiopian mother
And child who was born was Dystopian Alexander Pushkin,
I will carry his remains; the bones, the skull and the skeleton in oily
Sisal threads made bag on my broad African shoulders back to Africa
I will re-bury him in the city of Omurate in southern Ethiopia at the buttocks
Of the fish venting beautiful summer waters of Lake Turkana,
I will ask Alexander Pushkin when in a sag on my back to sing for me
His famous poems in praise of thighs of women;

(I loved you: and, it may be, from my soul
The former love has never gone away,
But let it not recall to you my dole;
I wish not sadden you in any way.

I loved you silently, without hope, fully,
In diffidence, in jealousy, in pain;
I loved you so tenderly and truly,
As let you else be loved by any man.
I loved you because of your smooth thighs
They put my heart on fire like amber in gasoline)

I will leave the bronze statue of Alexander Pushkin in Moscow
For Lenin to look at, he will assign Mayakovski to guard it
Day and night as he sings for it the cacotopian
Poems of a slap in the face of public taste;

(I know the power of words, I know words' tocsin.
They're not the kind applauded by the boxes.
From words like these coffins burst from the earth
and on their own four oaken legs stride forth.
It happens they reject you, unpublished, unprinted.
But saddle-girths tightening words gallop ahead.
See how the centuries ring and trains crawl
to lick poetry's calloused hands.
I know the power of words. Seeming trifles that fall
like petals beneath the heel-taps of dance.
But man with his soul, his lips, his bones.)

I will come along to African city of Omurate
With the pedagogue of the thespic poet
The teacher of the poets, the teacher who taught
Alexander Sergeyvich Pushkin; I know his name
The name is Nikolai Vasileyvitch Gogol
I will caution him to carry only two books
From which he will teach the re-Africanized Pushkin
The first book is the Cloak and second book will be
The voluminous dead souls that have two sharp children of Russian dystopia;
The cactopia of Nosdrezv in his sadistic cult of betrayal
And utopia of Chichikov in his paranoid ownership of dead souls
Of the Russian peasants, muzhiks and serfs,
I will caution him not to carry the government inspector incognito
We don’t want the inspector general in the African city of Omurate
He will leave it behind for Lenin to read because he needs to know
What is to be done.
I don’t like the extreme badness of owning the dead souls
Let me run away to the city of Paris, where romance and poetry
Are utopian commanders of the dystopian orchestra
In which Victor Marie Hugo is haunted by
The ghost of Jean Val Jean; Le Miserable,
I will implore Hugo to take me to the Corsican Island
And chant for me one **** song of the French revolution;


       (  take heed of this small child of earth;
He is great; he hath in him God most high.
Children before their fleshly birth
Are lights alive in the blue sky.
  
In our light bitter world of wrong
They come; God gives us them awhile.
His speech is in their stammering tongue,
And his forgiveness in their smile.
  
Their sweet light rests upon our eyes.
Alas! their right to joy is plain.
If they are hungry Paradise
Weeps, and, if cold, Heaven thrills with pain.
  
The want that saps their sinless flower
Speaks judgment on sin's ministers.
Man holds an angel in his power.
Ah! deep in Heaven what thunder stirs,
  
When God seeks out these tender things
Whom in the shadow where we sleep
He sends us clothed about with wings,
And finds them ragged babes that we)

 From the Corsican I won’t go back to Paris
Because Napoleon Bonaparte and the proletariat
Has already taken over the municipal of Paris
I will dodge this city and maneuver my ways
Through Alsace and Lorraine
The Miginko islands of Europe
And cross the boundaries in to bundeslander
Into Germany, I will go to Berlin and beg the Gestapo
The State police not to shoot me as I climb the Berlin wall
I will balance dramatically on the top of Berlin wall
Like Eshu the Nigerian god of fate
With East Germany on my right; Die ossie
And West Germany on my left; Die wessie
Then like Jesus balancing and walking
On the waters of Lake Galilee
I will balance on Berlin wall
And call one of my faithful followers from Germany
The strong hearted Friedrich von Schiller
To climb the Berlin wall with me
So that we can sing his dystopic Cassandra as a duet
We shall sing and balance on the wall of Berlin
Schiller’s beauteous song of Cassandra;

(Mirth the halls of Troy was filling,
Ere its lofty ramparts fell;
From the golden lute so thrilling
Hymns of joy were heard to swell.
From the sad and tearful slaughter
All had laid their arms aside,
For Pelides Priam's daughter
Claimed then as his own fair bride.

Laurel branches with them bearing,
Troop on troop in bright array
To the temples were repairing,
Owning Thymbrius' sovereign sway.
Through the streets, with frantic measure,
Danced the bacchanal mad round,
And, amid the radiant pleasure,
Only one sad breast was found.

Joyless in the midst of gladness,
None to heed her, none to love,
Roamed Cassandra, plunged in sadness,
To Apollo's laurel grove.
To its dark and deep recesses
Swift the sorrowing priestess hied,
And from off her flowing tresses
Tore the sacred band, and cried:

"All around with joy is beaming,
Ev'ry heart is happy now,
And my sire is fondly dreaming,
Wreathed with flowers my sister's brow
I alone am doomed to wailing,
That sweet vision flies from me;
In my mind, these walls assailing,
Fierce destruction I can see."

"Though a torch I see all-glowing,
Yet 'tis not in *****'s hand;
Smoke across the skies is blowing,
Yet 'tis from no votive brand.
Yonder see I feasts entrancing,
But in my prophetic soul,
Hear I now the God advancing,
Who will steep in tears the bowl!"

"And they blame my lamentation,
And they laugh my grief to scorn;
To the haunts of desolation
I must bear my woes forlorn.
All who happy are, now shun me,
And my tears with laughter see;
Heavy lies thy hand upon me,
Cruel Pythian deity!"

"Thy divine decrees foretelling,
Wherefore hast thou thrown me here,
Where the ever-blind are dwelling,
With a mind, alas, too clear?
Wherefore hast thou power thus given,
What must needs occur to know?
Wrought must be the will of Heaven--
Onward come the hour of woe!"

"When impending fate strikes terror,
Why remove the covering?
Life we have alone in error,
Knowledge with it death must bring.
Take away this prescience tearful,
Take this sight of woe from me;
Of thy truths, alas! how fearful
'Tis the mouthpiece frail to be!"

"Veil my mind once more in slumbers
Let me heedlessly rejoice;
Never have I sung glad numbers
Since I've been thy chosen voice.
Knowledge of the future giving,
Thou hast stolen the present day,
Stolen the moment's joyous living,--
Take thy false gift, then, away!"

"Ne'er with bridal train around me,
Have I wreathed my radiant brow,
Since to serve thy fane I bound me--
Bound me with a solemn vow.
Evermore in grief I languish--
All my youth in tears was spent;
And with thoughts of bitter anguish
My too-feeling heart is rent."

"Joyously my friends are playing,
All around are blest and glad,
In the paths of pleasure straying,--
My poor heart alone is sad.
Spring in vain unfolds each treasure,
Filling all the earth with bliss;
Who in life can e'er take pleasure,
When is seen its dark abyss?"

"With her heart in vision burning,
Truly blest is Polyxene,
As a bride to clasp him yearning.
Him, the noblest, best Hellene!
And her breast with rapture swelling,
All its bliss can scarcely know;
E'en the Gods in heavenly dwelling
Envying not, when dreaming so."

"He to whom my heart is plighted
Stood before my ravished eye,
And his look, by passion lighted,
Toward me turned imploringly.
With the loved one, oh, how gladly
Homeward would I take my flight
But a Stygian shadow sadly
Steps between us every night."

"Cruel Proserpine is sending
All her spectres pale to me;
Ever on my steps attending
Those dread shadowy forms I see.
Though I seek, in mirth and laughter
Refuge from that ghastly train,
Still I see them hastening after,--
Ne'er shall I know joy again."

"And I see the death-steel glancing,
And the eye of ****** glare;
On, with hasty strides advancing,
Terror haunts me everywhere.
Vain I seek alleviation;--
Knowing, seeing, suffering all,
I must wait the consummation,
In a foreign land must fall."

While her solemn words are ringing,
Hark! a dull and wailing tone
From the temple's gate upspringing,--
Dead lies Thetis' mighty son!
Eris shakes her snake-locks hated,
Swiftly flies each deity,
And o'er Ilion's walls ill-fated
Thunder-clouds loom heavily!)

When the Gestapoes get impatient
We shall not climb down to walk on earth
Because by this time  of utopia
Thespis and Muse the gods of poetry
Would have given us the wings to fly
To fly high over England, I and schiller
We shall not land any where in London
Nor perch to any of the English tree
Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Thales
We shall not land there in these lands
The waters of river Thames we shall not drink
We shall fly higher over England
The queen of England we shall not commune
For she is my lender; has lend me the language
English language in which I am chanting
My dystopic songs, poor me! What a cacotopia!
If she takes her language away from
I will remain poetically dead
In the Universe of art and culture
I will form a huge palimpsest of African poetry
Friedrich son of schiller please understand me
Let us not land in England lest I loose
My borrowed tools of worker back to the owner,
But instead let us fly higher in to the azure
The zenith of the sky where the eagles never dare
And call the English bard
through  our high shrilled eagle’s contralto
William Shakespeare to come up
In the English sky; to our treat of poetic blitzkrieg
Please dear schiller we shall tell the bard of London
To come up with his three Luftwaffe
These will be; the deer he stole from the rich farmer
Once when he was a lad in the rural house of john the father,
Second in order is the Hamlet the price of Denmark
Thirdly is  his beautiful song of the **** of lucrece,
We shall ask the bard to return back the deer to the owner
Three of ourselves shall enjoy together dystopia in Hamlet
And ask Shakespeare to sing for us his song
In which he saw a man **** Lucrece; the **** of Lucrece;

( From the besieged Ardea all in post,
Borne by the trustless wings of false desire,
Lust-breathed Tarquin leaves the Roman host,
And to Collatium bears the lightless fire
Which, in pale embers hid, lurks to aspire
  And girdle with embracing flames the waist
  Of Collatine's fair love, Lucrece the chaste.

Haply that name of chaste unhapp'ly set
This bateless edge on his keen appetite;
When Collatine unwisely did not let
To praise the clear unmatched red and white
Which triumph'd in that sky of his delight,
  Where mortal stars, as bright as heaven's beauties,
  With pure aspects did him peculiar duties.

For he the night before, in Tarquin's tent,
Unlock'd the treasure of his happy state;
What priceless wealth the heavens had him lent
In the possession of his beauteous mate;
Reckoning his fortune at such high-proud rate,
  That kings might be espoused to more fame,
  But king nor peer to such a peerless dame.

O happiness enjoy'd but of a few!
And, if possess'd, as soon decay'd and done
As is the morning's silver-melting dew
Against the golden splendour of the sun!
An expir'd date, cancell'd ere well begun:
  Honour and beauty, in the owner's arms,
  Are weakly fortress'd from a world of harms.

Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
The eyes of men without an orator;
What needeth then apologies be made,
To set forth that which is so singular?
Or why is Collatine the publisher
  Of that rich jewel he should keep unknown
  From thievish ears, because it is his own?

Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty
Suggested this proud issue of a king;
For by our ears our hearts oft tainted be:
Perchance that envy of so rich a thing,
Braving compare, disdainfully did sting
  His high-pitch'd thoughts, that meaner men should vaunt
  That golden hap which their superiors want)

  
I and Schiller we shall be the audience
When Shakespeare will echo
The enemies of beauty as
It is weakly protected in the arms of Othello.

I and Schiller we don’t know places in Greece
But Shakespeare’s mother comes from Greece
And Shakespeare’s wife comes from Athens
Shakespeare thus knows Greece like Pericles,
We shall not land anywhere on the way
But straight we shall be let
By Shakespeare to Greece
Into the inner chamber of calypso
Lest the Cyclopes eat us whole meal
We want to redeem Homer from the
Love detention camp of calypso
Where he has dallied nine years in the wilderness
Wilderness of love without reaching home
I will ask Homer to introduce me
To Muse, Clio and Thespis
The three spiritualities of poetry
That gave Homer powers to graft the epics
Of Iliad and Odyssey centerpieces of Greece dystopia
I will ask Homer to chant and sing for us the epical
Songs of love, Grecian cradle of utopia
Where Cyclopes thrive on heavyweight cacotopia
Please dear Homer kindly sing for us;
(Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we
feasted our fill on meat and drink, but when the sun went down and
it came on dark, we camped upon the beach. When the child of
morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I bade my men on board and
loose the hawsers. Then they took their places and smote the grey
sea with their oars; so we sailed on with sorrow in our hearts, but
glad to have escaped death though we had lost our comrades)
                                  
From Greece to Africa the short route  is via India
The sub continent of India where humanity
Flocks like the oceans of women and men
The land in which Romesh Tulsi
Grafted Ramayana and Mahabharata
The handbook of slavery and caste prejudice
The land in which Gujarat Indian tongue
In the cheeks of Rabidranathe Tagore
Was awarded a Poetical honour
By Alfred Nobel minus any Nemesis
From the land of Scandinavia,
I will implore Tagore to sing for me
The poem which made Nobel to give him a prize
I will ask Tagore to sing in English
The cacotopia and utopia that made India
An oversized dystopia that man has ever seen,
Tagore sing please Tagore sing for me your beggarly heat;

(When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.

When grace is lost from life,
come with a burst of song.

When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from
beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.

When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner,
break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.

When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one,
thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder)



The heart of beggar must be
A hard heart for it to glorify in the art of begging,

I don’t like begging
This is knot my heart suffered
From my childhood experience
I saw my mother
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
When Zuo Fen woke day was well advanced into the Horse hour. In her darkened room a frame of the brightest light pulsed around the shuttered window. A breeze of scents from her herb garden brought sage, motherwort and lovage to cleanse the confined air, what remained of his visit, those rare aromatic oils from a body freed from its robes. Turning her head into the pillow that odour of him embraced her once more as in the deepest and most prolonged kiss , when with no space to breathe passion displaces reason in the mind.
 
The goat cart had brought him silently to her court in the Tiger hour, as was his custom in these summer days when, tired of his women’s attention, he seeks her company. In the vestibule her maid leaves a bowl of fresh water scented with lemon juice, a towel, her late uncle’s comb, a salve for his hands. Without removing his shoes, an Emperor’s privilege, he enters her study pausing momentarily while Xi-Lu removes himself from the exalted presence, his long tail *****, his walk provocative, dismissive. Zuo Fen is at her desk, brush in hand she finishes a copy of  ‘A Rhapsody for my Lord’. She has submitted herself to enter yet again that persona of the young concubine taken from her family to serve that community from which there seems no escape.
 
I was born in a humble, isolated, thatched house,
And was never well-versed in writing.
I never saw the marvellous pictures of books,
Nor had I heard of the classics of ancient sages.
I am dim-witted, humble and ignorant,
But was mistakenly placed in the Purple Palace . . .

 
He loves to hear her read such words, to imagine this fragile girl, and see her life at court described in the poet’s elegant characters. Zuo Fen’s scrolls lie on his second desk. Touching them, as he does frequently, is to touch her, is to feel mystery of her long body with its disregard of the courtly customs of his many, many women; the soft hair on her legs, the deep forest guarding her hidden ***, her peasant feet, her long fingers with their scent of ink and herbs.
 
He kneels beside her, gradually opening his ringed hand wide on her gowned thigh, then closing, then opening. A habit: an affectation. His head is bent in an obeisance he has no need to make, only, as he desires her he does this, so she knows this is so. She is prepared, as always, to act the part, or be this self she has opened to him, in all innocence at first, then in quiet delight that this is so and no more.
 
‘A rhapsody for me perhaps?’
‘What does Liu Xie say? The rhapsody is a fork in the road . . .
‘ . . . a different line’, he interrupts and quotes,’ it describes people and objects. It pictures appearance with a brilliance akin to sculpture or painting.’
‘What is clogged and confined it invariably opens. It depicts the commonplace with unbounded charm.’
‘But the goal of the form is beauty well-ordered . . . . as you are, dearest poet.’
‘You spoilt the richness of Lui Xie’s ending . . .’
‘I would rather speak of your beauty than Xie’s talk of gardening.’
‘Weeding is not gardening my Lord.’
 
And with that he summons her to read her rhapsody whilst his hands part her gown . . .
 
Over the years since he took her maidenhead, brusquely, with the impatience of his station, and she, on their second encounter deflowered him in turn with her poem about the pleasure due to woman, they had become as one branch on the same tree. She sought to be, and was, his equal in the prowess of scholastic memory. She had honed such facility with the word: years of training from her father in the palace archives and later in the mind games invented by and played with her brother. Then, as she entered womanhood and feared oblivion in an arranged marriage, she invented the persona of the pale girl, a fiction, who, with great gentleness and poetry, guided the male reader into the secrets of a woman’s ****** pleasure and fulfilment. In disguise, and with her brother’s help, she had sought those outside concubinage - for whom the congress of the male and female is rarely negotiable. She listened and transcribed, then gradually drew the Emperor into a web of new experience to which he readily succumbed, and the like of which he could have hardly imagined. He wished to promote her to the first lady of his Purple Chamber. She declined, insisting he provide her with a court distant from his palace rooms, yet close to the Zu-lin gardens, a place of quiet, meditation and the study of astronomy.
 
But today, this hot summer’s day, she had reckoned to be her birthday. She expected due recognition for one whose days moved closer to that age when a birthday is traditionally and lavishly celebrated. Her maid Mei-Lim would have already prepared the egg dishes associated with this special day. Her brother Zuo-Si may have penned a celebratory ode, and later would visit her with his lute to caress his subtle words of invention.
 
Your green eyes reflect a world apart
Where into silence words are formed dew-like,
Glistening as the sun rises on this precious day.
As a stony spring washes over precious jade,
delicate fishes swim in its depths
dancing to your reflection on the cool surface.
No need of strings, or bamboo instruments
When mountains and waters give forth their pure notes . . .

 
Her lord had left on her desk his own Confucian-led offering, in brushstrokes of his time-stretched hand, but his own hand nevertheless, and then in salutation the flower-like character leh (joy)
 
‘Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart’.
 
Meanwhile Xi-Lu stirred on the coverlet reminding Zuo Fen that the day was advancing and he had received no attention or conversation. It was whispered abroad that this lady spoke with her cat whom each afternoon would accompany his mistress on a walk through the adjacent gardens. It was true, Zuo Fen had taught Xi-Lu to converse in the dialect of her late mother’s province, but that is another story.
 
Lying on her back, eyes firmly shut, Zuo Fen surveyed the past year, a year of her brother’s pilgrimage to the Tai Mountains, his subsequent disappearance at the onset of winter, her Lord’s anger then indulgence as he allowed her to seek Zuo Si’s whereabouts. She thought of her sojourn in Ryzoki, the village of stone, where she discovered the blind servant girl who had revealed not only her brother’s whereabouts but her undying love for this strange, ungainly, uncomfortably ugly man who, with the experience gained from his sister’s persistent research had finally learned to love and be loved in equal measure for his gentle and tender actions. And together, their triumph: in ‘summoning the recluse’, and not one alone but a community of five living harmoniously in caves of the limestone heights. Now returned they had worked in ever secret ways to serve their Emperor in his conflict against the war-lord Tang.
 
She now resolved to take a brief holiday from this espionage, her stroking of the Emperor’s mind and body, and those caring sisterly duties she so readily performed. She would remove herself and her maid to a forest cabin: to lie in the dry mottled grass of summer and listen to the rustle of leaves, the chatter of birds, the sounds of insects and the creak-crack of the forest in the summer heat. She would plan a new chapter in her work as a poet and writer: she would be the pale girl no longer but a woman of strength and confidence made beautiful by good fortune, wise management and a generosity of spirit. She needed to prepare herself for her Lord’s demise, when their joyful hours living the lives of Prince and Lady of Xiang, he with his stallion gathering galingales, she with her dreams of an underwater house, would no longer be. She would study the ways of the old. She would seek to learn how peace and serenity might overcome those afflictions of age and circumstance, and when it is said that love’s chemistry distils pure joy through the intense refinement of memory.
This short story with poetry introduces the world of Zuo Fen, one of the first female poets of Chinese antiquity.
Free Will Oct 2014
It hurts me because my countries worries of ETHNICITY creates nation wide incompatibility. Which creates no mobility.
That gives us no capability of advancing our society.
Mateuš Conrad Dec 2015
advancing in alcoholism: when it happens, alcohol for a long while doesn't hit you in the head for a carousel, alcohol exfoliates with the fact that 50ml of whiskey make up 50kcal; the alcohol goes to the body, rather than that abstraction of the brain known as the mind - it's sedative properties become more pronounced, there's no dancing on tabletops for miles, there's no care for binging a day in a week, there are no drinking games, drinking dares - that slogan 'enjoy responsibly,' it applies more to those who drink alcohol and decide upon drinking games, that alcoholics who drink it for alcohol's medicinal purposes; i seriously don't know any better sedative - and if alcohol was such a poison, why was it first used by arab surgeons to disinfect surgical equipment? i'll tell you why... if alcohol was originally used to disinfect surgical equipment, it's used by those who drink it to cut into the realm of psychology, and calmly pull out the intestines.

with a short hangover i sat and mused
over the content of everyday value coca cola
(17p for 2 litres, you get the picture,
it really can be everyday,
forget the logo lego in the mind
that fools you that you're drinking something
better),
BARLEY.... sodium citrate (lemon salt),
i have the secret formula, citric barley,
a lemon infusion of barley, plus the sweeteners.
other than that? i'm perched on the windowsill
hunched, bewildered at seeing a bee
fly up to my window, and it's december,
but the koranic reference is of being -
just be... and all this thinking about my trips
to the brothel, and my genteel approach
to prostitutes drunk, even the one that stole
my debit card and denied it - i called my father
and told him i lost it taking a dump in valentines
park, i climbed over the fence, fell off it once
when i punched through a window of a church
near barkingside (st. augustines) then bought
some sweet cakes from the jewish bakers
with a ****** hand... other times i just climbed
over and roamed in the thick of it of unused
purple ivory of the night - yes, at night
certain things glisten with a sort of milky way aerosol
pollen of dead stars.
again: but other than that? i can recognise about
ten bird species around me - apart from foxes, deer,
badgers and hedgehogs only a step away from me
in the area i occupy which is about 4 square miles:
seagulls (oddly, it's very inland here), crows,
magpies, sparrows, canadian geese, swans, kestrels,
blackbirds, wood pigeons (much larger than
their urban counterparts, which have a more
rhapsodic coo-curl; in polish *synogarlica
)
and of course mallards: where the males are so well
distinguished from the brown-freckled females
that they aren't like most androgynous animals where
you can't really distinguish the two apart...
but there are also a few white doves...
some roost on the roof of the church
of the good shepherd on the b174 road...
but you can also spot them on a woody path in
raphael's park... close encounters of the migrating kind.
crap... i'm starting to see myself as a hybrid of
bukowski mingling with wordsworth.
Computer marching forward,
technology.
It's advancing far too fast,
why can't we see?

Hypnotize all the people,
make sure they scream.
Make sure they have no future,
**** all their dreams.

Technology took over,
now we're going to die.
Technology took over,
and everyone's asking why.

Taking over,
evil machines,
attacking a futile Earth.

Mind controlling,
planet killing,
attacking our world.

Hypnotize all the people,
make sure they scream.
Make sure they have no future,
**** all their dreams.

Technology took over,
now we're going to die.
Technology took over,
and everyone's asking why.

Taking over,
evil machines,
attacking a futile Earth.

Mind controlling,
planet killing,
attacking our world.

Technology took over,
and we ask why.

Computer marching forward,
technology.
It's advancing far too fast,
why can't we see?
Copyright Barry Pietrantonio
Antonio Aug 2014
Summer's warm currents retreat
the advancing brisk amber sunsets.

Submerging the world under
the reign of enduring starry nights.

The maples blush as Autumn whispers
the gentle lullaby of Winter's sweet breath.

Erasing Summer's memory with a crimson brush
preparing the golden landscape's long frigid rest.

~~~
Keith Wilson Aug 2016
Passed  a  neglected  garden  of  late.
It  seemed  in  quite  a ­­ sorry  state.
Some  men  came  to  make  some  notes.
But  seem­ed  to  give  it  little  thought.
Up  on  high  the  grasses  gr­ow.
Beneath  the  windows  row  by  row.
The  other  plants  just­ ­ cry  with  pain.
I  guess  we'll  never  grow  again.
They  ha­ve­  taken  up  our  space  on  the  ground
Like  an  advancing  ­army  I'll  be  bound.
They  are  taking  our  water  Oh  my.
As ­ they  journey  to  the  sky.
Perhaps  it  soon will  be  resolved.­
And  peace  will  reign.
Once again

Keith  Wilson    Windermere.  UK.  2016­.
Some revisons
It has every right to bare
this clenched fist of a grudge
embittered by techno-Jovian
whims and base transformations

Once delicately formed— two
tips pressed en pointe, three
others elegantly tucked— it
danced with a golden shaft
pulling indigo pirouettes
across a swept ivory stage

Then came the re-pose: a claw’s
arched looming. Unhappiness
fell as five wilted stems,
beggar mouths forced to fumble
toward those impoverished
humps of white-on-black glyph

The other hand is left
complimentary, richly gripped
by understudy glee, being
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
THE HOUSE OF DUST
A Symphony

BY
CONRAD AIKEN

To Jessie

NOTE

. . . Parts of this poem have been printed in "The North American
Review, Others, Poetry, Youth, Coterie, The Yale Review". . . . I am
indebted to Lafcadio Hearn for the episode called "The Screen Maiden"
in Part II.


     This text comes from the source available at
     Project Gutenberg, originally prepared by Judy Boss
     of Omaha, NE.
    
THE HOUSE OF DUST


PART I.


I.

The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.

And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.

'I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .'
The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
Or as the numberless voices of long-drawn rains.

We hear him and take him among us, like a wind of music,
Like the ghost of a music we have somewhere heard;
We crowd through the streets in a dazzle of pallid lamplight,
We pour in a sinister wave, ascend a stair,
With laughter and cry, and word upon murmured word;
We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .

Good-night!  Good-night!  Good-night!  We go our ways,
The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
We walk, we run, we ride.  We turn our faces
To what the eternal evening brings.

Our hands are hot and raw with the stones we have laid,
We have built a tower of stone high into the sky,
We have built a city of towers.

Our hands are light, they are singing with emptiness.
Our souls are light; they have shaken a burden of hours . . .
What did we build it for?  Was it all a dream? . . .
Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . .
And after a while they will fall to dust and rain;
Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands;
And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.


II.

One, from his high bright window in a tower,
Leans out, as evening falls,
And sees the advancing curtain of the shower
Splashing its silver on roofs and walls:
Sees how, swift as a shadow, it crosses the city,
And murmurs beyond far walls to the sea,
Leaving a glimmer of water in the dark canyons,
And silver falling from eave and tree.

One, from his high bright window, looking down,
Peers like a dreamer over the rain-bright town,
And thinks its towers are like a dream.
The western windows flame in the sun's last flare,
Pale roofs begin to gleam.

Looking down from a window high in a wall
He sees us all;
Lifting our pallid faces towards the rain,
Searching the sky, and going our ways again,
Standing in doorways, waiting under the trees . . .
There, in the high bright window he dreams, and sees
What we are blind to,-we who mass and crowd
From wall to wall in the darkening of a cloud.

The gulls drift slowly above the city of towers,
Over the roofs to the darkening sea they fly;
Night falls swiftly on an evening of rain.
The yellow lamps wink one by one again.
The towers reach higher and blacker against the sky.


III.

One, where the pale sea foamed at the yellow sand,
With wave upon slowly shattering wave,
Turned to the city of towers as evening fell;
And slowly walked by the darkening road toward it;
And saw how the towers darkened against the sky;
And across the distance heard the toll of a bell.

Along the darkening road he hurried alone,
With his eyes cast down,
And thought how the streets were hoarse with a tide of people,
With clamor of voices, and numberless faces . . .
And it seemed to him, of a sudden, that he would drown
Here in the quiet of evening air,
These empty and voiceless places . . .
And he hurried towards the city, to enter there.

Along the darkening road, between tall trees
That made a sinister whisper, loudly he walked.
Behind him, sea-gulls dipped over long grey seas.
Before him, numberless lovers smiled and talked.
And death was observed with sudden cries,
And birth with laughter and pain.
And the trees grew taller and blacker against the skies
And night came down again.


IV.

Up high black walls, up sombre terraces,
Clinging like luminous birds to the sides of cliffs,
The yellow lights went climbing towards the sky.
From high black walls, gleaming vaguely with rain,
Each yellow light looked down like a golden eye.

They trembled from coign to coign, and tower to tower,
Along high terraces quicker than dream they flew.
And some of them steadily glowed, and some soon vanished,
And some strange shadows threw.

And behind them all the ghosts of thoughts went moving,
Restlessly moving in each lamplit room,
From chair to mirror, from mirror to fire;
From some, the light was scarcely more than a gloom:
From some, a dazzling desire.

And there was one, beneath black eaves, who thought,
Combing with lifted arms her golden hair,
Of the lover who hurried towards her through the night;
And there was one who dreamed of a sudden death
As she blew out her light.

And there was one who turned from clamoring streets,
And walked in lamplit gardens among black trees,
And looked at the windy sky,
And thought with terror how stones and roots would freeze
And birds in the dead boughs cry . . .

And she hurried back, as snow fell, mixed with rain,
To mingle among the crowds again,
To jostle beneath blue lamps along the street;
And lost herself in the warm bright coiling dream,
With a sound of murmuring voices and shuffling feet.

And one, from his high bright window looking down
On luminous chasms that cleft the basalt town,
Hearing a sea-like murmur rise,
Desired to leave his dream, descend from the tower,
And drown in waves of shouts and laughter and cries.


V.

The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain . . .
It eddies around pale lilac lamps, and falls
Down golden-windowed walls.
We were all born of flesh, in a flare of pain,
We do not remember the red roots whence we rose,
But we know that we rose and walked, that after a while
We shall lie down again.

The snow floats down upon us, we turn, we turn,
Through gorges filled with light we sound and flow . . .
One is struck down and hurt, we crowd about him,
We bear him away, gaze after his listless body;
But whether he lives or dies we do not know.

One of us sings in the street, and we listen to him;
The words ring over us like vague bells of sorrow.
He sings of a house he lived in long ago.
It is strange; this house of dust was the house I lived in;
The house you lived in, the house that all of us know.
And coiling slowly about him, and laughing at him,
And throwing him pennies, we bear away
A mournful echo of other times and places,
And follow a dream . . . a dream that will not stay.

Down long broad flights of lamplit stairs we flow;
Noisy, in scattered waves, crowding and shouting;
In broken slow cascades.
The gardens extend before us . . .  We spread out swiftly;
Trees are above us, and darkness.  The canyon fades . . .

And we recall, with a gleaming stab of sadness,
Vaguely and incoherently, some dream
Of a world we came from, a world of sun-blue hills . . .
A black wood whispers around us, green eyes gleam;
Someone cries in the forest, and someone kills.

We flow to the east, to the white-lined shivering sea;
We reach to the west, where the whirling sun went down;
We close our eyes to music in bright cafees.
We diverge from clamorous streets to streets that are silent.
We loaf where the wind-spilled fountain plays.

And, growing tired, we turn aside at last,
Remember our secret selves, seek out our towers,
Lay weary hands on the banisters, and climb;
Climbing, each, to his little four-square dream
Of love or lust or beauty or death or crime.


VI.

Over the darkened city, the city of towers,
The city of a thousand gates,
Over the gleaming terraced roofs, the huddled towers,
Over a somnolent whisper of loves and hates,
The slow wind flows, drearily streams and falls,
With a mournful sound down rain-dark walls.
On one side purples the lustrous dusk of the sea,
And dreams in white at the city's feet;
On one side sleep the plains, with heaped-up hills.
Oaks and beeches whisper in rings about it.
Above the trees are towers where dread bells beat.

The fisherman draws his streaming net from the sea
And sails toward the far-off city, that seems
Like one vague tower.
The dark bow plunges to foam on blue-black waves,
And shrill rain seethes like a ghostly music about him
In a quiet shower.

Rain with a shrill sings on the lapsing waves;
Rain thrills over the roofs again;
Like a shadow of shifting silver it crosses the city;
The lamps in the streets are streamed with rain;
And sparrows complain beneath deep eaves,
And among whirled leaves
The sea-gulls, blowing from tower to lower tower,
From wall to remoter wall,
Skim with the driven rain to the rising sea-sound
And close grey wings and fall . . .

. . . Hearing great rain above me, I now remember
A girl who stood by the door and shut her eyes:
Her pale cheeks glistened with rain, she stood and shivered.
Into a forest of silver she vanished slowly . . .
Voices about me rise . . .

Voices clear and silvery, voices of raindrops,-
'We struck with silver claws, we struck her down.
We are the ghosts of the singing furies . . . '
A chorus of elfin voices blowing about me
Weaves to a babel of sound.  Each cries a secret.
I run among them, reach out vain hands, and drown.

'I am the one who stood beside you and smiled,
Thinking your face so strangely young . . . '
'I am the one who loved you but did not dare.'
'I am the one you followed through crowded streets,
The one who escaped you, the one with red-gleamed hair.'

'I am the one you saw to-day, who fell
Senseless before you, hearing a certain bell:
A bell that broke great memories in my brain.'
'I am the one who passed unnoticed before you,
Invisible, in a cloud of secret pain.'

'I am the one who suddenly cried, beholding
The face of a certain man on the dazzling screen.
They wrote me that he was dead.  It was long ago.
I walked in the streets for a long while, hearing nothing,
And returned to see it again.  And it was so.'


Weave, weave, weave, you streaks of rain!
I am dissolved and woven again . . .
Thousands of faces rise and vanish before me.
Thousands of voices weave in the rain.

'I am the one who rode beside you, blinking
At a dazzle of golden lights.
Tempests of music swept me: I was thinking
Of the gorgeous promise of certain nights:
Of the woman who suddenly smiled at me this day,
Smiled in a certain delicious sidelong way,
And turned, as she reached the door,
To smile once more . . .
Her hands are whiter than snow on midnight water.
Her throat is golden and full of golden laughter,
Her eyes are strange as the stealth of the moon
On a night in June . . .
She runs among whistling leaves; I hurry after;
She dances in dreams over white-waved water;
Her body is white and fragrant and cool,
Magnolia petals that float on a white-starred pool . . .
I have dreamed of her, dreaming for many nights
Of a broken music and golden lights,
Of broken webs of silver, heavily falling
Between my hands and their white desire:
And dark-leaved boughs, edged with a golden radiance,
Dipping to screen a fire . . .
I dream that I walk with her beneath high trees,
But as I lean to kiss her face,
She is blown aloft on wind, I catch at leaves,
And run in a moonless place;
And I hear a crashing of terrible rocks flung down,
And shattering trees and cracking walls,
And a net of intense white flame roars over the town,
And someone cries; and darkness falls . . .
But now she has leaned and smiled at me,
My veins are afire with music,
Her eyes have kissed me, my body is turned to light;
I shall dream to her secret heart tonight . . . '

He rises and moves away, he says no word,
He folds his evening paper and turns away;
I rush through the dark with rows of lamplit faces;
Fire bells peal, and some of us turn to listen,
And some sit motionless in their accustomed places.

Cold rain lashes the car-roof, scurries in gusts,
Streams down the windows in waves and ripples of lustre;
The lamps in the streets are distorted and strange.
Someone takes his watch from his pocket and yawns.
One peers out in the night for the place to change.

Rain . . . rain . . . rain . . . we are buried in rain,
It will rain forever, the swift wheels hiss through water,
Pale sheets of water gleam in the windy street.
The pealing of bells is lost in a drive of rain-drops.
Remote and hurried the great bells beat.

'I am the one whom life so shrewdly betrayed,
Misfortune dogs me, it always hunted me down.
And to-day the woman I love lies dead.
I gave her roses, a ring with opals;
These hands have touched her head.

'I bound her to me in all soft ways,
I bound her to me in a net of days,
Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word.
How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you?
There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.

'They cover a body with roses . . . I shall not see it . . .
Must one return to the lifeless walls of a city
Whose soul is charred by fire? . . . '
His eyes are closed, his lips press tightly together.
Wheels hiss beneath us.  He yields us our desire.

'No, do not stare so-he is weak with grief,
He cannot face you, he turns his eyes aside;
He is confused with pain.
I suffered this.  I know.  It was long ago . . .
He closes his eyes and drowns in death again.'

The wind hurls blows at the rain-starred glistening windows,
The wind shrills down from the half-seen walls.
We flow on the mournful wind in a dream of dying;
And at last a silence falls.


VII.

Midnight; bells toll, and along the cloud-high towers
The golden lights go out . . .
The yellow windows darken, the shades are drawn,
In thousands of rooms we sleep, we await the dawn,
We lie face down, we dream,
We cry aloud with terror, half rise, or seem
To stare at the ceiling or walls . . .
Midnight . . . the last of shattering bell-notes falls.
A rush of silence whirls over the cloud-high towers,
A vortex of soundless hours.

'The bells have just struck twelve: I should be sleeping.
But I cannot delay any longer to write and tell you.
The woman is dead.
She died-you know the way.  Just as we planned.
Smiling, with open sunlit eyes.
Smiling upon the outstretched fatal hand . . .'

He folds his letter, steps softly down the stairs.
The doors are closed and silent.  A gas-jet flares.
His shadow disturbs a shadow of balustrades.
The door swings shut behind.  Night roars above him.
Into the night he fades.

Wind; wind; wind; carving the walls;
Blowing the water that gleams in the street;
Blowing the rain, the sleet.
In the dark alley, an old tree cracks and falls,
Oak-boughs moan in the haunted air;
Lamps blow down with a crash and ****** of glass . . .
Darkness whistles . . . Wild hours pass . . .

And those whom sleep eludes lie wide-eyed, hearing
Above their heads a goblin night go by;
Children are waked, and cry,
The young girl hears the roar in her sleep, and dreams
That her lover is caught in a burning tower,
She clutches the pillow, she gasps for breath, she screams . . .
And then by degrees her breath grows quiet and slow,
She dreams of an evening, long ago:
Of colored lanterns balancing under trees,
Some of them softly catching afire;
And beneath the lanterns a motionless face she sees,
Golden with lamplight, smiling, serene . . .
The leaves are a pale and glittering green,
The sound of horns blows over the trampled grass,
Shadows of dancers pass . . .
The face smiles closer to hers, she tries to lean
Backward, away, the eyes burn close and strange,
The face is beginning to change,-
It is her lover, she no longer desires to resist,
She is held and kissed.
She closes her eyes, and melts in a seethe of
John F McCullagh Dec 2011
You see me suspended in space-time
as I’m passing the 89th floor
Falling headlong, my form is impressive.
Sadly, no one will be holding up scores.
Just moments ago I was standing
at a Morton’s Fork in the road:
The fires of hell were advancing
where I stood on the 98th Floor.
Well can you imagine my terror
when I came face to face with the flames.
I don’t know why I chose as I did;
Souls in torment can never explain.
The day of my death predetermined,
but which death would provide me less pain?.
My choice, which was no “choice” at all
was to smash through the window and fall.
Then the only thing that could “save” me
was the camera that captured it all
This poem was written about the famous photograph from 9-11 "The Falling Man"
Morton was Henry VII's tax collector. Morton's fork is a choice of two equally unpleasant alternatives.
K Balachandran Nov 2014
Spreading dense night, dark robust forest,
growing relentless, virtually unstoppable;
it went on for some time after the sun surrendered
we were stranded in it's cloudy  thickets, thorny bushes.
Then came white butterflies, waves after waves after waves,
from the silver moon's abode  they descended so spectacularly.
          We were overwhelmed, by this sudden invasion of beauty,
that swayed my mind, made it fly high weightless like a feather,
couldn't even notice them eating up the fear of the forest altogether.
Aroused and angry,
I thought to beat the alarum, and urge relentless war;
But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d, and I resign’d myself,
To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead.

1

First, O songs, for a prelude,
Lightly strike on the stretch’d tympanum, pride and joy in my city,
How she led the rest to arms—how she gave the cue,
How at once with lithe limbs, unwaiting a moment, she sprang;
(O superb! O Manhattan, my own, my peerless!
O strongest you in the hour of danger, in crisis! O truer than steel!)
How you sprang! how you threw off the costumes of peace with indifferent hand;
How your soft opera-music changed, and the drum and fife were heard in their stead;
How you led to the war, (that shall serve for our prelude, songs of soldiers,)
How Manhattan drum-taps led.

2

Forty years had I in my city seen soldiers parading;
Forty years as a pageant—till unawares, the Lady of this teeming and turbulent city,
Sleepless amid her ships, her houses, her incalculable wealth,
With her million children around her—suddenly,
At dead of night, at news from the south,
Incens’d, struck with clench’d hand the pavement.

A shock electric—the night sustain’d it;
Till with ominous hum, our hive at day-break pour’d out its myriads.

From the houses then, and the workshops, and through all the doorways,
Leapt they tumultuous—and lo! Manhattan arming.

3

To the drum-taps prompt,
The young men falling in and arming;
The mechanics arming, (the trowel, the jack-plane, the blacksmith’s hammer, tost aside with precipitation;)
The lawyer leaving his office, and arming—the judge leaving the court;
The driver deserting his wagon in the street, jumping down, throwing the reins abruptly down on the horses’ backs;
The salesman leaving the store—the boss, book-keeper, porter, all leaving;
Squads gather everywhere by common consent, and arm;
The new recruits, even boys—the old men show them how to wear their accoutrements—they buckle the straps carefully;
Outdoors arming—indoors arming—the flash of the musket-barrels;
The white tents cluster in camps—the arm’d sentries around—the sunrise cannon, and again at sunset;
Arm’d regiments arrive every day, pass through the city, and embark from the wharves;
(How good they look, as they ***** down to the river, sweaty, with their guns on their shoulders!
How I love them! how I could hug them, with their brown faces, and their clothes and knapsacks cover’d with dust!)
The blood of the city up—arm’d! arm’d! the cry everywhere;
The flags flung out from the steeples of churches, and from all the public buildings and stores;
The tearful parting—the mother kisses her son—the son kisses his mother;
(Loth is the mother to part—yet not a word does she speak to detain him;)
The tumultuous escort—the ranks of policemen preceding, clearing the way;
The unpent enthusiasm—the wild cheers of the crowd for their favorites;
The artillery—the silent cannons, bright as gold, drawn along, rumble lightly over the stones;
(Silent cannons—soon to cease your silence!
Soon, unlimber’d, to begin the red business;)
All the mutter of preparation—all the determin’d arming;
The hospital service—the lint, bandages, and medicines;
The women volunteering for nurses—the work begun for, in earnest—no mere parade now;
War! an arm’d race is advancing!—the welcome for battle—no turning away;
War! be it weeks, months, or years—an arm’d race is advancing to welcome it.

4

Mannahatta a-march!—and it’s O to sing it well!
It’s O for a manly life in the camp!
And the sturdy artillery!
The guns, bright as gold—the work for giants—to serve well the guns:
Unlimber them! no more, as the past forty years, for salutes for courtesies merely;
Put in something else now besides powder and wadding.

5

And you, Lady of Ships! you Mannahatta!
Old matron of this proud, friendly, turbulent city!
Often in peace and wealth you were pensive, or covertly frown’d amid all your children;
But now you smile with joy, exulting old Mannahatta!
I

Out of the little chapel I burst
Into the fresh night-air again.
Five minutes full, I waited first
In the doorway, to escape the rain
That drove in gusts down the common’s centre
At the edge of which the chapel stands,
Before I plucked up heart to enter.
Heaven knows how many sorts of hands
Reached past me, groping for the latch
Of the inner door that hung on catch
More obstinate the more they fumbled,
Till, giving way at last with a scold
Of the crazy hinge, in squeezed or tumbled
One sheep more to the rest in fold,
And left me irresolute, standing sentry
In the sheepfold’s lath-and-plaster entry,
Six feet long by three feet wide,
Partitioned off from the vast inside—
I blocked up half of it at least.
No remedy; the rain kept driving.
They eyed me much as some wild beast,
That congregation, still arriving,
Some of them by the main road, white
A long way past me into the night,
Skirting the common, then diverging;
Not a few suddenly emerging
From the common’s self through the paling-gaps,
—They house in the gravel-pits perhaps,
Where the road stops short with its safeguard border
Of lamps, as tired of such disorder;—
But the most turned in yet more abruptly
From a certain squalid knot of alleys,
Where the town’s bad blood once slept corruptly,
Which now the little chapel rallies
And leads into day again,—its priestliness
Lending itself to hide their beastliness
So cleverly (thanks in part to the mason),
And putting so cheery a whitewashed face on
Those neophytes too much in lack of it,
That, where you cross the common as I did,
And meet the party thus presided,
“Mount Zion” with Love-lane at the back of it,
They front you as little disconcerted
As, bound for the hills, her fate averted,
And her wicked people made to mind him,
Lot might have marched with Gomorrah behind him.

II

Well, from the road, the lanes or the common,
In came the flock: the fat weary woman,
Panting and bewildered, down-clapping
Her umbrella with a mighty report,
Grounded it by me, wry and flapping,
A wreck of whalebones; then, with a snort,
Like a startled horse, at the interloper
(Who humbly knew himself improper,
But could not shrink up small enough)
—Round to the door, and in,—the gruff
Hinge’s invariable scold
Making my very blood run cold.
Prompt in the wake of her, up-pattered
On broken clogs, the many-tattered
Little old-faced peaking sister-turned-mother
Of the sickly babe she tried to smother
Somehow up, with its spotted face,
From the cold, on her breast, the one warm place;
She too must stop, wring the poor ends dry
Of a draggled shawl, and add thereby
Her tribute to the door-mat, sopping
Already from my own clothes’ dropping,
Which yet she seemed to grudge I should stand on:
Then, stooping down to take off her pattens,
She bore them defiantly, in each hand one,
Planted together before her breast
And its babe, as good as a lance in rest.
Close on her heels, the dingy satins
Of a female something past me flitted,
With lips as much too white, as a streak
Lay far too red on each hollow cheek;
And it seemed the very door-hinge pitied
All that was left of a woman once,
Holding at least its tongue for the *****.
Then a tall yellow man, like the Penitent Thief,
With his jaw bound up in a handkerchief,
And eyelids ******* together tight,
Led himself in by some inner light.
And, except from him, from each that entered,
I got the same interrogation—
“What, you the alien, you have ventured
To take with us, the elect, your station?
A carer for none of it, a Gallio!”—
Thus, plain as print, I read the glance
At a common prey, in each countenance
As of huntsman giving his hounds the tallyho.
And, when the door’s cry drowned their wonder,
The draught, it always sent in shutting,
Made the flame of the single tallow candle
In the cracked square lantern I stood under,
Shoot its blue lip at me, rebutting
As it were, the luckless cause of scandal:
I verily fancied the zealous light
(In the chapel’s secret, too!) for spite
Would shudder itself clean off the wick,
With the airs of a Saint John’s Candlestick.
There was no standing it much longer.
“Good folks,” thought I, as resolve grew stronger,
“This way you perform the Grand-Inquisitor
When the weather sends you a chance visitor?
You are the men, and wisdom shall die with you,
And none of the old Seven Churches vie with you!
But still, despite the pretty perfection
To which you carry your trick of exclusiveness,
And, taking God’s word under wise protection,
Correct its tendency to diffusiveness,
And bid one reach it over hot ploughshares,—
Still, as I say, though you’ve found salvation,
If I should choose to cry, as now, ‘Shares!’—
See if the best of you bars me my ration!
I prefer, if you please, for my expounder
Of the laws of the feast, the feast’s own Founder;
Mine’s the same right with your poorest and sickliest,
Supposing I don the marriage vestiment:
So, shut your mouth and open your Testament,
And carve me my portion at your quickliest!”
Accordingly, as a shoemaker’s lad
With wizened face in want of soap,
And wet apron wound round his waist like a rope,
(After stopping outside, for his cough was bad,
To get the fit over, poor gentle creature
And so avoid distrubing the preacher)
—Passed in, I sent my elbow spikewise
At the shutting door, and entered likewise,
Received the hinge’s accustomed greeting,
And crossed the threshold’s magic pentacle,
And found myself in full conventicle,
—To wit, in Zion Chapel Meeting,
On the Christmas-Eve of ‘Forty-nine,
Which, calling its flock to their special clover,
Found all assembled and one sheep over,
Whose lot, as the weather pleased, was mine.

III

I very soon had enough of it.
The hot smell and the human noises,
And my neighbor’s coat, the greasy cuff of it,
Were a pebble-stone that a child’s hand poises,
Compared with the pig-of-lead-like pressure
Of the preaching man’s immense stupidity,
As he poured his doctrine forth, full measure,
To meet his audience’s avidity.
You needed not the wit of the Sibyl
To guess the cause of it all, in a twinkling:
No sooner our friend had got an inkling
Of treasure hid in the Holy Bible,
(Whene’er ‘t was the thought first struck him,
How death, at unawares, might duck him
Deeper than the grave, and quench
The gin-shop’s light in hell’s grim drench)
Than he handled it so, in fine irreverence,
As to hug the book of books to pieces:
And, a patchwork of chapters and texts in severance,
Not improved by the private dog’s-ears and creases,
Having clothed his own soul with, he’d fain see equipt yours,—
So tossed you again your Holy Scriptures.
And you picked them up, in a sense, no doubt:
Nay, had but a single face of my neighbors
Appeared to suspect that the preacher’s labors
Were help which the world could be saved without,
‘T is odds but I might have borne in quiet
A qualm or two at my spiritual diet,
Or (who can tell?) perchance even mustered
Somewhat to urge in behalf of the sermon:
But the flock sat on, divinely flustered,
Sniffing, methought, its dew of Hermon
With such content in every snuffle,
As the devil inside us loves to ruffle.
My old fat woman purred with pleasure,
And thumb round thumb went twirling faster,
While she, to his periods keeping measure,
Maternally devoured the pastor.
The man with the handkerchief untied it,
Showed us a horrible wen inside it,
Gave his eyelids yet another *******,
And rocked himself as the woman was doing.
The shoemaker’s lad, discreetly choking,
Kept down his cough. ‘T was too provoking!
My gorge rose at the nonsense and stuff of it;
So, saying like Eve when she plucked the apple,
“I wanted a taste, and now there’s enough of it,”
I flung out of the little chapel.

IV

There was a lull in the rain, a lull
In the wind too; the moon was risen,
And would have shone out pure and full,
But for the ramparted cloud-prison,
Block on block built up in the West,
For what purpose the wind knows best,
Who changes his mind continually.
And the empty other half of the sky
Seemed in its silence as if it knew
What, any moment, might look through
A chance gap in that fortress massy:—
Through its fissures you got hints
Of the flying moon, by the shifting tints,
Now, a dull lion-color, now, brassy
Burning to yellow, and whitest yellow,
Like furnace-smoke just ere flames bellow,
All a-simmer with intense strain
To let her through,—then blank again,
At the hope of her appearance failing.
Just by the chapel a break in the railing
Shows a narrow path directly across;
‘T is ever dry walking there, on the moss—
Besides, you go gently all the way up-hill.
I stooped under and soon felt better;
My head grew lighter, my limbs more supple,
As I walked on, glad to have slipt the fetter.
My mind was full of the scene I had left,
That placid flock, that pastor vociferant,
—How this outside was pure and different!
The sermon, now—what a mingled weft
Of good and ill! Were either less,
Its fellow had colored the whole distinctly;
But alas for the excellent earnestness,
And the truths, quite true if stated succinctly,
But as surely false, in their quaint presentment,
However to pastor and flock’s contentment!
Say rather, such truths looked false to your eyes,
With his provings and parallels twisted and twined,
Till how could you know them, grown double their size
In the natural fog of the good man’s mind,
Like yonder spots of our roadside lamps,
Haloed about with the common’s damps?
Truth remains true, the fault’s in the prover;
The zeal was good, and the aspiration;
And yet, and yet, yet, fifty times over,
Pharaoh received no demonstration,
By his Baker’s dream of Baskets Three,
Of the doctrine of the Trinity,—
Although, as our preacher thus embellished it,
Apparently his hearers relished it
With so unfeigned a gust—who knows if
They did not prefer our friend to Joseph?
But so it is everywhere, one way with all of them!
These people have really felt, no doubt,
A something, the motion they style the Call of them;
And this is their method of bringing about,
By a mechanism of words and tones,
(So many texts in so many groans)
A sort of reviving and reproducing,
More or less perfectly, (who can tell?)
The mood itself, which strengthens by using;
And how that happens, I understand well.
A tune was born in my head last week,
Out of the thump-thump and shriek-shriek
Of the train, as I came by it, up from Manchester;
And when, next week, I take it back again,
My head will sing to the engine’s clack again,
While it only makes my neighbor’s haunches stir,
—Finding no dormant musical sprout
In him, as in me, to be jolted out.
‘T is the taught already that profits by teaching;
He gets no more from the railway’s preaching
Than, from this preacher who does the rail’s officer, I:
Whom therefore the flock cast a jealous eye on.
Still, why paint over their door “Mount Zion,”
To which all flesh shall come, saith the pro phecy?

V

But wherefore be harsh on a single case?
After how many modes, this Christmas-Eve,
Does the self-same weary thing take place?
The same endeavor to make you believe,
And with much the same effect, no more:
Each method abundantly convincing,
As I say, to those convinced before,
But scarce to be swallowed without wincing
By the not-as-yet-convinced. For me,
I have my own church equally:
And in this church my faith sprang first!
(I said, as I reached the rising ground,
And the wind began again, with a burst
Of rain in my face, and a glad rebound
From the heart beneath, as if, God speeding me,
I entered his church-door, nature leading me)
—In youth I looked to these very skies,
And probing their immensities,
I found God there, his visible power;
Yet felt in my heart, amid all its sense
Of the power, an equal evidence
That his love, there too, was the nobler dower.
For the loving worm within its clod
Were diviner than a loveless god
Amid his worlds, I will dare to say.
You know what I mean: God’s all man’s naught:
But also, God, whose pleasure brought
Man into being, stands away
As it were a handbreadth off, to give
Room for the newly-made to live,
And look at him from a place apart,
And use his gifts of brain and heart,
Given, indeed, but to keep forever.
Who speaks of man, then, must not sever
Man’s very elements from man,
Saying, “But all is God’s”—whose plan
Was to create man and then leave him
Able, his own word saith, to grieve him,
But able to glorify him too,
As a mere machine could never do,
That prayed or praised, all unaware
Of its fitness for aught but praise and prayer,
Made perfect as a thing of course.
Man, therefore, stands on his own stock
Of love and power as a pin-point rock:
And, looking to God who ordained divorce
Of the rock from his boundless continent,
Sees, in his power made evident,
Only excess by a million-fold
O’er the power God gave man in the mould.
For, note: man’s hand, first formed to carry
A few pounds’ weight, when taught to marry
Its strength with an engine’s, lifts a mountain,
—Advancing in power by one degree;
And why count steps through eternity?
But love is the ever-springing fountain:
Man may enlarge or narrow his bed
For the water’s play, but the water-head—
How can he multiply or reduce it?
As easy create it, as cause it to cease;
He may profit by it, or abuse it,
But ‘t is not a thing to bear increase
As power does: be love less or more
In the heart of man, he keeps it shut
Or opes it wide, as he pleases, but
Love’s sum remains what it was before.
So, gazing up, in my youth, at love
As seen through power, ever above
All modes which make it manifest,
My soul brought all to a single test—
That he, the Eternal First and Last,
Who, in his power, had so surpassed
All man conceives of what is might,—
Whose wisdom, too, showed infinite,
—Would prove as infinitely good;
Would never, (my soul understood,)
With power to work all love desires,
Bestow e’en less than man requires;
That he who endlessly was teaching,
Above my spirit’s utmost reaching,
What love can do in the leaf or stone,
(So that to master this alone,
This done in the stone or leaf for me,
I must go on learning endlessly)
Would never need that I, in turn,
Should point him out defect unheeded,
And show that God had yet to learn
What the meanest human creature needed,
—Not life, to wit, for a few short years,
Tracking his way through doubts and fears,
While the stupid earth on which I stay
Suffers no change, but passive adds
Its myriad years to myriads,
Though I, he gave it to, decay,
Seeing death come and choose about me,
And my dearest ones depart without me.
No: love which, on earth, amid all the shows of it,
Has ever been seen the sole good of life in it,
The love, ever growing there, spite of the strife in it,
Shall arise, made perfect, from death’s repose of it.
And I shall behold thee, face to face,
O God, and in thy light retrace
How in all I loved here, still wast thou!
Whom pressing to, then, as I fain would now,
I shall find as able to satiate
The love, thy gift, as my spirit’s wonder
Thou art able to quicken and sublimate,
With this sky of thine, that I now walk under
And glory in thee for, as I gaze
Thus, thus! Oh, let men keep their ways
Of seeking thee in a narrow shrine—
Be this my way! And this is mine!

VI

For lo, what think you? suddenly
The rain and the wind ceased, and the sky
Received at once the full fruition
Of the moon’s consummate apparition.
The black cloud-barricade was riven,
Ruined beneath her feet, and driven
Deep in the West; while, bare and breathless,
North and South and East lay ready
For a glorious thing that, dauntless, deathless,
Sprang across them and stood steady.
‘T was a moon-rainbow, vast and perfect,
From heaven to heaven extending, perfect
As the mother-moon’s self, full in face.
It rose, distinctly at the base
With its seven proper colors chorded,
Which still, in the rising, were compressed,
Until at last they coalesced,
And supreme the spectral creature lorded
In a triumph of whitest white,—
Above which intervened the night.
But above night too, like only the next,
The second of a wondrous sequence,
Reaching in rare and rarer frequence,
Till the heaven of heavens were circumflexed
Another rainbow rose, a mightier,
Fainter, flushier and flightier,—
Rapture dying along its verge.
Oh, whose foot shall I see emerge,
Whose, from the straining topmost dark,
On to the keystone of that are?

VII

This sight was shown me, there and then,—
Me, one out of a world of men,
Singled forth, as the chance might hap
To another if, in a thu
Emanuel Martinez Feb 2013
No option, but to be perceived
Violent, Aggressive, Irrational
Identity becoming an other

Words of malice, they mystify
Words of ignorance, they vilify
Subverting consciousness and articulation

Our identities, fighting to be
Autonomous landscapes
Hoping in anticipation for liberation

No real notion of we or me
Implicating it's inhuman to be foreign
When they represent as much of we and me

Scandalizing alternative identities as subversive
Advancing erasures in favor of hegemony
Propaganda favoring what is most white

Amelioration for the obliteration of cunning identity?
No more cooperation, ****** the euphemisms
That cover up, and help justify marginalization

Our identities, fighting to be
Autonomous landscapes
Hoping in anticipation for liberation

Time to ****, ******, massacre eurocentric ideology
We preach no violence, being not them, just we
But cannot request to be free, must tear it out by force

Eurocentric ideological pandemic inhabiting, inhibiting the soul of mankind
Unthinkable abomination concealed in the veil of appropriated minds
Necessitating exorcism for the incarcerated conscious mind

When we completely violate mandates of eurocentric ideology
When only we appropriate our own identity
When we all nullify the color of our skin
As profanity or inadequacy

Our identities, fighting to be
Autonomous landscapes
Hoping in anticipation for liberation
Will be awaiting purgation from alienation
February 1, 2013
Robert C Howard Aug 2017
When the arc of his watch hands  
reached the top of the hour
Sam pushed the throttle forward.

Engine 138 thundered
out of Blossburg station
like an iron dragon
breathing smoke and steam -
whistle shrilling over the Tioga valley.

Powered by coal
the train carried coal
to the waiting city of Elmira
where Sam would press his mother's hand -
perhaps for the final time.

The wheels churning iron on iron
across Pennsylvania farmlands,
turned like other wheels before
moving settlers west
to break its ready earth -
wheels beneath his grandfather's oxcart
turning toward Lycoming's verdant hills.

New wheels now carried America
to urban landscapes
drawing us like electro-magnets
to streetlamps - factories - dry good stores -
new crops for a modern age.

Elmira’s silhouette expanded on the horizon.
and Sam pulled the train in on time -
brakes screeching through billowing steam.

His wife, Jenny and his sister's Sam
came in a horseless carriage
with Zoe, Marie and Edward,
children now grown at their sides.

They all gathered by Hannah's bed
now approaching her final hours
soft voices and fragile smiles
cradled the truth beyond all telling:

Time, ever advancing
like the hands of a fine old watch,
holds us all in its circling sway

© 2006 by Robert Charles Howard
Onoma Dec 2014
As December gives
herself to
the advancing circle...
may the shape
of her final thought
be centered in peace...
on this our Mother Earth.
Matt Sep 2014
There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.
Tommy Sheldon Feb 2013
Determined petals
Pierce the snow,
Refusing to wait.
Shades of violet,
Red, then yellow;
Mocking folded crepe paper,
On white marble floors
Advancing to overtake the scene;
An insurgent force,
So lithe, so pure.

Conquering in swaths,
With delicate bravado,
As if  to challenge
The old mans icy grip,
While placating senses
Of the observant few;
Such a display
Of resistance,
To winter's rule

Now, slowly waning;
As the moments nigh,
But will return once again,
To defy a February's
Cruelty.
Even with record snow fall they can't be stoped.
SE Reimer Mar 2017
~

late winter’s dusting,
on tarnished ores;
a dreamer’s seeds,
these rails once bore.
rain-washed colors,
on sun-warped steel;
their conjured hopes,
an age once real;
oxidized
by rust and time
blackened timbers,
no longer bind;
what still remains
are worn out ties,
a distant memory,
of centuries gone by,
now mere after-sighs.
structures standing,
but just by chance...
a gust may blow them down;
these buildings where
men’s dreams once danced,
now a ghost, this town.
though no soul is left inside,
still a body here resides.
so long ago
her carried goods,
these rails rode,
to distant homes,
built dreams of wood;
like dandelion wishes,
scattered... gone,
tracks going nowhere,
now a fading ode,
just another dusty song.
for advancing progress
never fails to leave
someone's dying dream behind.

~

*post script.

Oregon’s hills and back country hide these relics of a time when a nation’s spirit was fed by the sounds of industry, steel and steam, the whir of saws, and men calling, “timber”... long before the age of wood and rail were left in a saw-dusty bin of history by the sweeping hand of time.  i could easily be persuaded that this change was for the best, yet this can't erase the longing sense, left beneath my breast... advances do not come without leaving something or someone behind.
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora’s fan,
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest:  He, on his side
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus.  Awake,
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven’s last best gift, my ever new delight!
Awake:  The morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection! glad I see
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day past, or morrow’s next design,
But of offence and trouble, which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night:  Methought,
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk
With gentle voice;  I thought it thine: It said,
‘Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
‘The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
‘To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
‘Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns
‘Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
‘Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
‘If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
‘Whom to behold but thee, Nature’s desire?
‘In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
‘Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.’
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
And ‘O fair plant,’ said he, ‘with fruit surcharged,
‘Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
‘Nor God, nor Man?  Is knowledge so despised?
‘Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
‘Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
‘Longer thy offered good; why else set here?
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoyed; ‘O fruit divine,
‘Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
‘Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
‘For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
‘And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more
‘Communicated, more abundant grows,
‘The author not impaired, but honoured more?
‘Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve!
‘Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
‘Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:
‘Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
‘Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,
‘But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
‘Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
‘What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!’
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell
So quickened appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste.  Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide
And various:  Wondering at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked
To find this but a dream!  Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answered sad.
Best image of myself, and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure.  But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, aery shapes,
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
Of our last evening’s talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
No spot or blame behind:  Which gives me hope
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never will consent to do.
Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
That open now their choisest bosomed smells,
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;
But silently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
But first, from under shady arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,
With wheels yet hovering o’er the ocean-brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering in wide landskip all the east
Of Paradise and Eden’s happy plains,
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty!  Thine this universal frame,
Thus wonderous fair;  Thyself how wonderous then!
Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.
Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
In mystick dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature’s womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world’s great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living Souls:  Ye Birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!
So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning’s rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves.  Them thus employed beheld
With pity Heaven’s high King, and to him called
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned
To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth
Satan, from Hell ’scaped through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, too secure:  Tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies:  This let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.
So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
All justice:  Nor delayed the winged Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed, however small he sees,
Not unconformed to other shining globes,
Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned
Above all hills.  As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot.  Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,
When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun’s
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph winged:  Six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o’er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his ***** and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet
Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
Sky-tinctured grain.  Like Maia’s son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
The circuit wide.  Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise;
For on some message high they guessed him bound.
Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
Her ****** fancies pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth’s inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:
And Eve within, due at her hour prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape:  To whom thus Adam called.
Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest.  But go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heavenly stranger:  Well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve.  Adam, earth’s hallowed mould,
Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel-guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order, so contrived as not to mix
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet
His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections; in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and gro
Come thou, thou last one, whom I recognize,
unbearable pain throughout this body's fabric:
as I in my spirit burned, see, I now burn in thee:
the wood that long resisted the advancing flames
which thou kept flaring, I now am nourishing
and burn in thee.

My gentle and mild being through thy ruthless fury
has turned into a raging hell that is not from here.
Quite pure, quite free of future planning, I mounted
the tangled funeral pyre built for my suffering,
so sure of nothing more to buy for future needs,
while in my heart the stored reserves kept silent.

Is it still I, who there past all recognition burn?
Memories I do not seize and bring inside.
O life! O living! O to be outside!
And I in flames. And no one here who knows me.
Thomas Thurman May 2010
When your creator took her crayon box
That day she thought to draw you all alive,
She found a certain green to sketch your locks,
Another green to show you grow, you thrive;
A green of richest thought unlimited,
A green to match the green of your creation,
A green to go, to boldly forge ahead,
A green for lands of peaceful meditation;
  The Greene King, standing proud with all his queens,
  Jack-in-the-green, surrounded by his trees;
  A thousand other shades of other greens;
  The greenness of the deepness of the seas;
And I, I fall and marvel at the light,
A million greens, like fireworks in the night.

That day she thought to draw you all alive
She drew your outline, sketched you, and refined
And shaped your eyes, that surely saw arrive
The laughing people in the frame behind,
The humans, dogs and kittens, trailing plants,
Who fill your background; all you love are here
Around you in the middle of the dance,
And as you watch, still more of them appear
  Beyond your face within the frame advancing
  Children and relatives and loves and friends
  Holding their merry hands in merry dancing
  Extending off beyond the picture's ends;
I know your other folk would say the same:
It's such an honour dancing in your frame.

She found a certain green to sketch your locks,
A deeper green, a perfect green attaining;
And now another from her crayon-stocks;
Refreshing and repeating what's remaining:
She bleaches it and tries another shade
Then leaves it for a while and grows it out,
Returns it to the colours that she made
Begins to work again, and turns about;
  And why this careful labour to provide you
  With perfect colours captured in your hair?
  She knows your colours mirror what's inside you,
  Eternal greens within you everywhere;
And still beneath, the ever-growing you
Shall dye, and yet shall live with life anew.

Another green to show you grow, you thrive;
Out from the snow the snowdrop breaks in flower.
Who could have called this sleeping bulb alive?
Yet buried patiently it waits its hour,
Counting the snowflakes slowly settling
Their weight upon the heavy earth above;
One day its Winter changes to its Spring.
Who can predict the power of life and love?
  Hope that at last the final frost is dead.
  Faith that the Winter dies and Spring shall rise.
  Love for the life that up through blades has bled.
  Joy to a hundred children's waiting eyes;
For every hour it slept beneath the ground,
A thousand wondering eyes shall gather round.

A green of richest thought unlimited.
I try to say I love you every day:
I know I keep repeating things I've said.
Perhaps I'll try to phrase another way:
Suppose I counted all the money ever
From now until when Abel risked his neck
With my accountants, who were very clever,
And wrote it on a record-breaking cheque...
  It wasn't half your empathising, was it?
  Your thoughts are treasured more than bank accounts;
  The bank won't put your loving on deposit.
  And could they take it, given such amounts?
The jealousy of cash makes misers blind,
And who needs money when you have your mind?

A green to match the green of your creation!
She took her time in sketching out your features,
Shading you well, and, drawn with dedication,
You took the pen she gives to all her creatures
And set about some drawing of your own,
Filling the art with arc and line and shade,
Showing your work the care that you were shown,
And making them as well as you were made;
  And much as life your drawing hand was giving,
  Another life from deep within you drew:
  A life, not merely likeness of the living,
  So separate, yet such a part of you:
Who finds your baby-picture on the shelf
And smiles and finds you, showing you yourself.

A green to go, to boldly forge ahead,
Should shine on traffic lights for every person.
If you should find a colour in its stead
That stops you-- not an arrow for diversion,
To Edmundsbury, Hatfield and the North,
Or any other place that's worth the going--
But rather reds that block your going forth;
If traffic signals freeze your days from flowing,
  Your life is green and you deserve the green.
  And if you try to go about your day
  And greens are coming few and far between,
  And reds and ambers blare about your way:
If so, I pray your days to hold instead
All green, and never amber, never red.

A green for lands of peaceful meditation.
You call: Come stand upon my sacred ground,
Come sit and breathe the peace of contemplation,
Come feel the grass beneath, the lilies round,
Come sleep, come wake, and drink the quiet waters,
Come to the maytree, blackbird, waterfall;
Come know yourselves the planet's sons and daughters.
The people pass and pause, and still you call:
  It's waiting for you when you ask to try it:
  Peace (and the air) cannot be bought or sold.
  You'll never gain it if you try to buy it:
  It's not an asset crumpled fists can hold.
All that you have is nothing you can lose;
You stand on sacred ground. Remove your shoes.

The Greene King, standing proud with all his queens,
Guarding a land of oaks and aches and cold.
It's not a normal place, by any means,
This island of the oldest of the old,
Where bow the ancient oak and ash and thorn
In homage to a figure on a hill;
Deep in the hills where Wayland Smith was born
You stand, an English body, English still.
  For odes and age and air and ale have filled you,
  Made you their own and promised you belong;
  And since their homesick longing hasn't killed you,
  I think you'll be returning to their song;
Come, take your time, and sit and drink with me!
What say you to another cup of tea?

Jack-in-the-green, surrounded by his trees,
Had given birth to leafy life aplenty,
He'd introduced his firs by fours and threes,
And sowed his seedling cedars by the twenty;
The field was filled with trunks and twigs and roots,
The soil was sound and fertile, and the fall
Would fill the forest floor with growing shoots,
And none but Jack was there to watch it all
  Until you came to wander through this field,
  To walk within the ways within the wood;
  Your mind was brought to peace, your spirit healed,
  The forest given form and blessed as good;
Jack-in-the-green will wonder all his days:
your presence never ceases to a maze.

A thousand other shades of other greens:
"Leaf", "emerald", "sea", "bottle", off the cuff;
"Viridian" (uncertain what it means),
But there's so many. Names are not enough.
Yet, in another life, your maker might
Have picked you out among primeval glades
To work as keeper of the rainbow's light
And in another Eden name the shades;
  If so, the planet's poets will rejoice
  That, given life together with a name,
  The colours sing a stronger, clearer voice,
  And every hue will never seem the same:
Each of the shades looks loving back to you,
Its namer and the one who made it new.

The greenness of the deepness of the seas:
A home to fish of many a scaly nation.
Follow the shoals; the smallest one of these
Swims as a fishy summit of creation.
Yet every one's indebted to the shoal,
All subtle in their difference from the rest:
A fish of friends, a member of the whole,
A mix of traits, a taking of the best.
  So you and those of us you love so well
  Will grow along with other friends' increase,
  Required ingredients in the living-spell:
  Each person brings a necessary peace.
The level-headed people mix with mystics,
And both are living mixtures of holistics.

And I, I fall and marvel at the light,
This changing light that grows throughout the years,
Extinguished not by hardship nor by night
Nor foolishness nor sadness nor by tears.
When we were separated by the sea
I wished myself amidst your myriad days.
My wish was mirrored in your missing me;
Your maker joined our wishes, joined our ways;
  She placed our hands on one another's heart,
  And you and I began a lifelong learning
  Of one another, like a magic art
  Whose telling grows with every page's turning,
And holds our friendship as a growing bond
Till seventy years old, and still beyond.

A million greens, like fireworks in the night.**
I fear this sonnet never can be done.
So many colours burst upon my sight
I cannot tell the tale of every one.
But I can tell how vast excitement fills me
When all the flying sparkles fill the sky;
I want to tell the world how much it thrills me
To hold you close, reflected in your eye;
  I want to tell in all my earthly days
  And yet beyond, of what you mean to me;
  I want to say I love the myriad ways
  Of what you are and what you'll grow to be;
These counts combining made the building-blocks
When your creator took her crayon box.
Written as a Valentine's present for and about my partner, Fin.

I recorded myself reading the poem at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27EykqTr-w8 .
Edward Laine Sep 2011
The old green door creaked when it opened. The same way it always did. The same old pitiful, sad sound it had made for years.
Sad because, like the rest of Jimmy's Bar it wouldn't be broken the way it was if someone would only take the time to fix it, in this case to grease the hinges, and then maybe the joint wouldn't be such a dive.
But that was the way it was, and the old green door pretty much summed up the whole place before you had even stepped in.

It was an everyday scene, this dreary November afternoon like any other: the glasses from the night(or nights) before were still stacked up on the far end of the bar, waiting to be washed, or just used again. The regulars, as they were known really didn't care if they were drinking out of a ***** glass or having a shot or a short out of a pint glass or beer or a stout or a bitter or an ale or a cider or even a water or milk(to wash down or soak up the days drinking) out of the same old ***** glass they had been drinking out of all week long.
Anyway, when the door creaked this time, it was old Tom Ashley that made it creak.
He shuffled in like the broken down bindle-stiff he was. Yawning like a lion and rubbing his unwashed hands on his four day beard. His grey hair as bed-headed and dishevelled as ever.  He was wearing the same crinkled-up blazer he always wore, tailor made some time in his youth but now in his advancing years was ill-fitting and torn at the shoulder, but still he wore a white flower in the lapel, and it didn't much matter that he had picked it from the side of the road, it helped to mask the smell of his unwashed body and whatever filth he had been stewing in his little down town room above the second hand book store. It wasn't much, but it suited him fine: the rent was cheap, and Chuck, the owner would let him borrow books two at a time, so long as he returned them in week, and he always did. He loved to read, and rumour had it, that a long time ago when he was in his twenties he had written a novel which had sold innumerable copies and made him a very wealthy man. The twist in the tale, went that he had written said novel under a pen name and no soul knew what it was, and when questioned he would neither confirm nor deny ever writing a book at all. It was some great secret, but after time people had ceased asking questions and stopped caring all together on the subject. All that anybody knew for sure was; he did not work and always had money to drink. It was his only great mystery.  T.S Eliot and Thomas Hardy were among his favourite writers. He had a great stack of unread books he had been saving in shoe box on his window sill. He called these his 'raining season'.

But for now, the arrangement with Chuck would suit him just fine.
He dragged his drunkards feet across the floor and over to the bar. All dark wood with four green velour upholstered bar stools, that of course, had seen better days too.
He put his hands flat on the bar, leaned back on his heels and ordered
a double Talisker in his most polite manner. He was a drunk, indeed but 'manners cost nothing'' he had said in the past. Grum, the bartender(his name was Graham, but in the long years of him working in the bar and
all the drunks slurring his name it gradually became Grum)smiled false heartedly, turned his back and whilst pouring old Toms whiskey into a brandy glass looked over his shoulder and said, ''so Mr. Ashley, how's
life treatin' ya'?'' Tom was looking at the floor or the window or the at the back of his eyelids and paid no attention to the barkeep. He was always
a little despondent before his first drink of the day. When Grum placed the drink on the bar he asked the same question again, and Tom, fumbling with his glass, simply murmured a monosyllabic reply that couldn't be understood with his mouth full of that first glug of sweet,
sweet whiskey he had been aching for. Then he looked up at tom with
big his shiney/glazed eyes, ''hey grum,
now that it is a fine whiskey, Robert Lewis Stevenson
used to drink this you know?'' Grum did know, Tom had told him this nearly every day for as long as he had been coming in the place, but
he nodded towards Tom and smiled acceptingly all the same. ''The king of drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, he said'' Grum mouthed the words along with him,  caustically and half smiled at him again. Tom drained his glass and ordered another one of the same.

A few more drinks, a few hours and a few more drinks again
passed, Tom put them all on his tab like he always did. Grum,
nor the owner of the bar minded, he always paid his tab before
he stumbled home good and drunk and he didn’t cause too
much trouble apart from the odd argument with other customers
or staff but he never used his fists and he always knew when
he was beat In which case he would become very apologetic
and more often than not veer out of the bar back stepping
like a scared dog with his tail between his tattered trousers.
Drinking can make a cowardly man brave but not a smart
man dumb and Tom was indeed a smart man. Regardless
of what others might say. He was very articulate, well read
with a good head (jauntily perched) on his (crooked) shoulders.
By now it was getting late, Tom didn't know what time it was,
or couldn't figure out what time it was by simply looking at
the clock, the bar had one of those backwards clocks, I
don't know if you have ever seen one, the numbers run
anti-clockwise, which may not seem like much of task to
decipher I know, but believe me, if you are as drunk as tom
was by this point you really can not make head nor tails of
them. He knew it was getting late though as it was dark
outside and the  lamp posts were glowing their orange glow
through the window and the crack in the door. It was around
ten o’clock now and Tom had moved on to wine, he would
order a glass of Shiraz and say ''hey Grum, you know Hafez
used to drink this stuff, used to let it sit for forty days to achieve
a greater ''clarity of wine'' he called it, forty days!'' ''Mr Ashley''
said Grum looking up from wiping down the grimy bar and
now growing quite tired of the old man’s presence and what seemed
to be constant theories and facts of the various drinks he
was devouring, ''what are you rabbiting on about now, old
man?'' ''Hafez'' said old Tom ''he was a Persian poet from the
1300's as I recall... really quite good'', ''Well, Tom that is
truly fascinating, I must be sure to look in to him next time
I'm looking for fourteenth century poetry!'' said the barkeep,
mockingly. ''Good, good, be sure that you do'' Tom said,
taking a long ****-eyed slurp of his drink and not noticing
the sarcasm from the worn out bartender. He didn't mean
to poke fun at Tom he was anxious to get home to his wife
who he missed and longed to join, all alone in their warm
marital bed in the room upstairs. But Tom did not understand
this concept, he had never been married but had left a long
line of women behind him, loved and left in the tracks of his
vagabond youth, he had once been a good looking man a
''handsome devil'' confident and charming in all his wit and
literary references to poets of old he had memorised passages from ,Thoreau,Tennyson ,Byron, Frost etc. And more times
than not passed these passages of love and beauty off as
his own for the simple purpose of getting various now wooed
and wanting women up to his room. But now after  many
years of late nights, cigarettes and empty bottles cast aside
had taken their toll on him he spent his nights alone in his
cold single bed drunk and lonely with his only company being
once in a while a sad eyed dead eyed lady of the night, but
only very rarely would he give in to this temptation and it
always left him feeling hollow and more sober than he had
cared to be in many long years.
The bell rang last orders.
He ordered another drink, a Gin this time and as he took
the first sip, pleasingly, Grum stared at him with great open
eyes and his hand resting on his chin to animate how he
was waiting for the old man to state some worthless fact
about his new drink but the old man just sat there swaying
gently looking very glazed and just when the barkeep was
just about to blurt out his astonishment that Tom had noting
to say, old Tom Ashley, old drunk Tom took a deep breath
with his mouth wide, leaned back on his stool and said...
''hey, you know who used to drink gin? F. Scott Fitzgerald''
''really?'' said the barkeep snidely ''Oh yes'' said Tom
''The funny thing is Hemingway and all those old gents
used to tease Fitzgerald about his low tolerance, a real
light weight! He paused and took a sip ''but err, yes
he did like the odd glass of gin'' he said, mumbling
into the bottom of his glass.
Now, reaching the end of the night, the bartender
yawning, rubbing his eyes and the old man with
close to sixty pounds on his tab, sprawled across the
bar, spinning the last drop of his drink on the glasses
edge and seeming quite mesmerised by it and all its
holy splendour, he stopped and sat up right like a shot,
and looking quite sober now he shouted ''Grum,
Graham, hey, come here!'' the sleepy bartender was
sitting on a chair with his feet up on the bar, half asleep,
''Hey Graham, come here'' ''eh-ugh, what? What do you
want?'' said the barkeep sounding bemused and
befuddled
in his waking state, ''just come over here will you,
please''
the barkeep rolled off his chair sluggishly and slid
his feet across the floor towards the old man ''what is
it?'' he said scratching his head with his eyes still half
closed. The old man drowned what was left of his
drink and said ''I think I've had an epiphany, well err
well, more of a theory really w-well..'' he was stuttering
. ''oh yeah? And what would that be, Mr Ashley?'' said
the bartender, folding his arms in anticipation. ''pour
me another whiskey and I'll tell you''
''one mor... you must be kidding me, get the hell
out of here you old drunk we're closed!'' the old man
put his hands together as if in prayer and said in his
most sincere voice, '' oh please, Grum, just one more
for the road, I'll tell you my theory and then I'll be on
my way, OK?'' ''FINE, fine'' said Grum ''ONE more and
then you're GONE'' he walked over to the other side
of the bar poured a whiskey and another for himself.
''OK, here’s your drink old man, and I don't wanna
hear another of your ******* facts about writers
or poets or whoever OK?'' Tom snatched the drink of
the bar, ''OK, OK, I promise!'' he said. Tom took a slow
slurp at his drink and relaxed back in his seat and
sat quite, looking calm again.
The bartender sat staring at him, expecting the old
man to say something but he didn’t, he just sat there
on his stool, sipping his whiskey, Grum leaned forward
on the bar and with his nose nearly touching the old
mans, said ''SO? Out with it, what was this ****
theory I just HAD to hear?'' ''AH'' said the old man,
waving his index finger in the air, he looked down
into his breast pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes,
calmly took two out, handed one to the barkeep,
struck a match from his ***** finger nail, lit his own
the proceeded to light the barkeeps too.
Taking a long draw and now speaking with the blue
smoke pouring out his mouth said '' let me ask you a question''
... he paused, …  ''would agree that everybody
makes mistakes?'' the barkeep looked puzzled as to
where this was going but nodded and grunted a
''uh-hum'' ''well'' said the old man would you also
agree that everybody also learns... and continues
learning from their mistakes?'' again looking puzzled
but this time more  intrigued grunted the same ''uh-hum'' noise,
though this time a little more drawn out and
higher pitched and said ''where exactly are you going
with this?'' curiously.
''well..'' let me explain fully said Tom. He took another
pull on his cigarette and a sip on his drink, ''right,
my theory is: everybody keeps making mistakes, as
you agreed, this meaning that the whole world keeps
making mistakes too, and so the world keeps learning
from is mistakes, as you also agreed, with me so far?''
the barkeep nodded ''right'' Tom continued ''the world
keeps makiing and learning from its mistakes, my
theory is that one day, the world will have made so
many mistakes and learned from them all, so many
that there are no more mistakes to make, right? And
thus, with no mistakes left to learn from the word will
be all knowing and thus... PERFECT! Am I right? The
barkeep, now looking quite in awe and staring at his
cigarette smoke in the orange street light coming t
hrough the window, raised his glass and said quite
excitedly ''and when the world is then a perfect place
Jesus will return! Right?'' ''well Graham...'' said the old
man doubtingly ''I am in no way a religious man, but I
guess if that’s your thing then yes I guess you could be
right, yes''
He then drowned the rest of his whiskey in one giant
gulp, stubbed out his cigarette in the empty glass
and said ''now, I really must get going ,it really is getting quite
late'' and begun to walk towards the door. The
bartender hurried around the bar and grabbed Tom
by the arm,
'' you cant just leave now! We need to discuss this!
Please stay, we'll have another drink, on the house!''
''Now, now,Graham'' said the old man, ''we can discuss
this another night, I really must get to bed now'' he
walked over to the door, and just as his hand touched
the handle the barkeep stopped him again and said
quite hurriedly,'' but I need answers, how will I know
everything is going to be alight? You know PERFECT,
just like you said!'' the old man opened the door
slightly, turned around coolly and said ''now, don’t
worry yourself, I’m sure everything will turn out fine
and we’ll talk about it more tomorrow, OK?'' the
barkeep nodded acceptingly and held the door open
for the
old man, ''sure sure, OK'' he said ''tomorrow it is,
Mr Ashley''
Just as Tom was walking out the door he stopped
looked at the   barkeep with large grin on his face
and said very fast, as fast as he could ''you-know-an-interesting
-fact-about-whiskey-it-was -Dylan-Thomas'
-favourite-drink-in-fact-his-last-words-were -"I've-had-18
-straight-whiskeys......I-think-that's-the-record."­!! HAHA '' he
laughed almost uncontrollably. Graham the barkeep looked
at him with a smile of new found admiration and began to
close the door on him.
Just as the door was nearly shut, the old man stopped
once
more, pulled out a roll of money, looked in to the
bartenders
eyes and put the money into his shirt pocket, then putting
his left hand on the bartenders shoulder said ''oh and
Grum, one of those great ol' women I let get away, once told ,me:
''if you are looking at the moon then,everything is alight'' and slapped
him lightly on the cheek.
. Then finally, pointing at the barkeeps shirt pocket said ''
for the bar tab'' then went spinning out the door way with
the grace of a ballroom dancer(rather than the old drunk
he had the reputation for being) and standing in the
orange glow of the street and seeing the look of sheer
wonderment on the bartenders face still standing in the
old green door way and shouted ''LOOK UP, THE MOON,
THE MOON!'' The barkeep, shaking his head and laughing,
peered his head out of the door and took a glance at the
moon and grinned widely then closed the old green door
for the night. It made the same old loud creak when he shut it.

                                       FIN
I

LEAGUERED in fire
The wild black promontories of the coast extend
Their savage silhouettes;
The sun in universal carnage sets,
And, halting higher,
The motionless storm-clouds mass their sullen threats,
Like an advancing mob in sword-points penned,
That, balked, yet stands at bay.
Mid-zenith hangs the fascinated day
In wind-lustrated hollows crystalline,
A wan valkyrie whose wide pinions shine
Across the ensanguined ruins of the fray,
And in her lifted hand swings high o'erhead,
Above the waste of war,
The silver torch-light of the evening star
Wherewith to search the faces of the dead.

II

Lagooned in gold,
Seem not those jetty promontories rather
The outposts of some ancient land forlorn,
Uncomforted of morn,
Where old oblivions gather,
The melancholy, unconsoling fold
Of all things that go utterly to death
And mix no more, no more
With life's perpetually awakening breath?
Shall Time not ferry me to such a shore,
Over such sailless seas,
To walk with hope's slain importunities
In miserable marriage? Nay, shall not
All things be there forgot,
Save the sea's golden barrier and the black
Closecrouching promontories?
Dead to all shames, forgotten of all glories,
Shall I not wander there, a shadow's shade,
A spectre self-destroyed,
So purged of all remembrance and ****** back
Into the primal void,
That should we on that shore phantasmal meet
I should not know the coming of your feet?
Breeze-Mist Mar 2017
She looked at the river, the sea, and the sky
At the birds and people who flew on by
As the city's population ran back to the mountain pass
She calmly strolled into the growing cloud of gas

Donning her mask and gloves, she went in
Looking at the mirrored walls, she sighed "so it begins"
She knew she couldn't get things to how they were before
She wondered if Rai would recognize her anymore

Walking past the holograms, she threw her rainbow curls back
She kept the same pace by the graffiti and the tracks
She reached city center and saw humanity's bane
Looking up at the studio's screen, she called out her name

"Rai!" She called out, keeping the same tone
The girl materialized like a game on a phone
Keeping her gaze steady, she said "it's time to stop"
Hoping that her voice reached silent Rockefeller's top

Rai turned around, eyes betraying suprise
Immediately recognizing her friend under the guise
"But why, Naomi" she said, sounding like a vocaloid song
Putting her lenses down she asked "Did I do something wrong?"

Biting her lip and doging with her eyes
Naomi said "I know you didn't mean to, Rai"
"Oh" said the A.I., putting everything on the ground,
"I just wanted to make cameras, but now I've let everyone down"

Naomi climbed and jumped fire escapes, her legs strong and spry
Until she was next to Rai's screen in the sky
Her reddish skin contrasting with the sky's blue
She touched the screen and said "Hey, I've ****** up like that, too."

"Why do you think that I nearly blew up California with my tech?
So we made huge mistakes that humanity probably regrets
But we stopped in time and never actually killed a guy
So let's stop here and go back home, Rai."

The girl nodded along, making sure to listen
Then she packed away all of the lenses as they glistened
"Ok, Naomi, I'll see you back at home
Before I go, do you need me to change out the telescope's dome?"

"If it looks bad" said Naomi, descending to the ground
The gas had disappeared, so there was quite a crowd
As the citizens and police came back to the city
All Naomi could think was "How could I even explain this to a jury?"
Inspired by a weird story I have in my head and this video: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10154642709416387&id;=352462661386
Humanity argues over the most inept subjects
I'm convinced that we like to converse in circles
And try to tell ourselves we're advancing when we're still arguing over the most irrelevant things to ever grace the earth.
So many people fight over pointless things lol
1.

One Day the Amarous Lisander,
By an impatient Passion sway'd,
Surpris'd fair Cloris, that lov'd Maid,
Who cou'd defend her self no longer ;
All things did with his Love conspire,
The gilded Planet of the Day,
In his gay Chariot, drawn by Fire,
War now descending to the Sea,
And left no Light to guide the World,
But what from Cloris brighter Eves was hurl'd.

2.

In alone Thicket, made for Love,
Silent as yielding Maids Consent,
She with a charming Languishment
Permits his force, yet gently strove ?
Her Hands his ***** softly meet,
But not to put him back design'd,
Rather to draw him on inclin'd,
Whilst he lay trembling at her feet;
Resistance 'tis to late to shew,
She wants the pow'r to sav -- Ah!what do you do?

3.

Her bright Eyes sweat, and yet Severe,
Where Love and Shame confus'dly strive,
Fresh Vigor to Lisander give :
And whispring softly in his Ear,
She Cry'd -- Cease -- cease -- your vain desire,
Or I'll call out -- What wou'd you do ?
My dearer Honour, ev'n to you,
I cannot -- must not give -- retire,
Or take that Life whose chiefest part
I gave you with the Conquest of my Heart.

4.

But he as much unus'd to fear,
As he was capable of Love,
The blessed Minutes to improve,
Kisses her Lips, her Neck, her Hair !
Each touch her new Desires alarms !
His burning trembling Hand he prest
Upon her melting Snowy Breast,
While she lay panting in his Arms !
All her unguarded Beauties lie
The Spoils and Trophies of the Enemy.

5.

And now, without Respect or Fear,
He seeks the Objects of his Vows ;
His Love no Modesty allows :
By swift degrees advancing where
His daring Hand that Alter seiz'd,
Where Gods of Love do Sacrifice ;
That awful Throne, that Paradise,
Where Rage is tam'd, and Anger pleas'd ;
That Living Fountain, from whose Trills
The melted Soul in liquid Drops distils.

6.

Her balmy Lips encountring his,
Their Bodies as their Souls are joyn'd,
Where both in Transports were confin'd,
Extend themselves upon the Moss.
Cloris half dead and breathless lay,
Her Eyes appear'd like humid Light,
Such as divides the Day and Night;
Or falling Stars, whose Fires decay ;
And now no signs of Life she shows,
But what in short-breath-sighs returns and goes.

7.

He saw how at her length she lay,
He saw her rising ***** bare,
Her loose thin Robes, through which appear
A Shape design'd for Love and Play;
Abandon'd by her Pride and Shame,
She do's her softest Sweets dispence,
Offring her ******-Innocence
A Victim to Loves Sacred Flame ;
Whilst th' or'e ravish'd Shepherd lies,
Unable to perform the Sacrifice.

8.

Ready to taste a Thousand Joys,
Thee too transported hapless Swain,
Found the vast Pleasure turn'd to Pain :
Pleasure, which too much Love destroys !
The willing Garments by he laid,
And Heav'n all open to his view ;
Mad to possess, himself he threw
On the defenceless lovely Maid.
But oh ! what envious Gods conspire
To ****** his Pow'r, yet leave him the Desire !

9.

Natures support, without whose Aid
She can no humane Being give,
It self now wants the Art to live,
Faintness it slacken'd Nerves invade :
In vain th' enraged Youth assaid
To call his fleeting Vigour back,
No Motion 'twill from Motion take,
Excess of Love his Love betray'd ;
In vain he Toils, in vain Commands,
Th' Insensible fell weeping in his Hands.

10.

In this so Am'rous cruel strife,
Where Love and Fate were too severe,
The poor Lisander in Despair,
Renounc'd his Reason with his Life.
Now all the Brisk and Active Fire
That should the Nobler Part inflame,
Unactive Frigid, Dull became,
And left no Spark for new Desire ;
Not all her Naked Charms cou'd move,
Or calm that Rage that had debauch'd his Love.

11.

Cloris returning from the Trance
Which Love and soft Desire had bred,
Her tim'rous Hand she gently laid,
Or guided by Design or Chance,
Upon that Fabulous Priapus,
That Potent God (as Poets feign.)
But never did young Shepherdess
(Garth'ring of Fern upon the Plain)
More nimbly draw her Fingers back,
Finding beneath the Verdant Leaves a Snake.

12.

Then Cloris her fair Hand withdrew,
Finding that God of her Desires
Disarm'd of all his pow'rful Fires,
And cold as Flow'rs bath'd in the Morning-dew.
Who can the Nymphs Confusion guess ?
The Blood forsook the kinder place,
And strew'd with Blushes all her Face,
Which both Disdain and Shame express ;
And from Lisanders Arms she fled,
Leaving him fainting on the gloomy Bed.

13.

Like Lightning through the Grove she hies,
Or Daphne from the Delphick God ;
No Print upon the Grassie Road
She leaves, t' instruct pursuing Eyes.
The Wind that wanton'd in her Hair,
And with her ruffled Garments plaid,
Discover'd in the flying Maid
All that the Gods e're made of Fair.
So Venus, when her Love was Slain,
With fear and haste flew o're the fatal Plain.

14.

The Nymphs resentments, none but I
Can well imagin, and Condole ;
But none can guess Lisander's Soul,
But those who sway'd his Destiny :
His silent Griefs, swell up to Storms,
And not one God, his Fury spares,
He Curst his Birth, his Fate, his Stars,
But more the Shepherdesses Charms ;
Whose soft bewitching influence,
Had ****'d him to the Hell of Impotence.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
For nine days the artillery barrage
rained down on us
that June of summer in the Somme
machine gunners like me waited
in our concrete bunkers deep in the earth

When the shelling stopped
we rushed to the surface
and began our job of mowing down
the slow walking British Infantry
stoically advancing as if in another war
in another time where they might choose
to die bravely and with honour
a hero fighting for his life
his king and country

But here he dies unknown
by the chance turning of my gun
in his direction at that one moment
and the random number of bullets
left to fire.



© M.L.Emmett
Read at a show at the Art Gallery of South Australia for an exhibition of the etchings of Otto Dix
Becky Littmann Aug 2014
"Look Up" by Gary Turk is a poem I've recently watched / read
& it's message was SO powerful, it's now forever in my head
So deep, well spoken & extremely true....
I hope you'll share it, I know it'll be a lasting impression on you
This video poem & it's message has inspired me to write....
.....guess I'm not sleeping tonight....

Kids nowadays
Entertain themselves differently from my childhood ways
This is what we've become to be
Can't go too long 100% electronically free
Fresh air & drinking from the hose
Have been lost & forgotten I suppose
Of course fresh air & hoses still exist
It's their simplicity that's being overlooked & missed
Kids imagination is becoming rare & isn't creative anymore
Far, far less than all the kids in years before
Glued to some form of a screen
Hours in a line they'd rather wait, the newest game they feel
The parks are all much too quiet now
Their fascination no longer fascinates somehow
playground equipment empty & bare
& it's seems like everyone really doesn't care
The weekends are slowly turning into just another day
With marathons of endless video game play
Not even one foot stepped outside
Instead, like a hermit,just staying inside
Sunshine wasted daily & ignored easily
My opinion...it should be enjoyed worry free & regularly
Go play a game of hide-and-go-seek
& try to start a winning streak
Or how about some good old Red Rover, Red Rover
...Who will you decide to "Send Over"
Maybe it'll be on your secret crush
Just be careful not to blush
Another game I loved to play
Cartoon tag, HURRY & SQUAT what character will you say?!
There's so many games of tag you could choose
& fun & laughter you'll never lose
Like freeze tag or how about tunnel tag
NONE of them at all are dull or close to being a drag
Just one rule I think should always apply
Count to ten after tagged so instant "tag backs" won't cause a cry
Or you could play mother may I?
.....also I recommend giving Red Light, Green Light a try
NOW if sports are more your thing
A glove, bats, ***** & bases are something you should bring
Basketball more your style
Then bring a ball & shoot hoops for a while
If you'd rather just enjoy the day & sunshine
That too, is perfectly fine
Take your dog for a little walk
& bring a friend a long & just talk
Outdoors has so much to offer you
There is endless amounts of options for things to do
Maybe enjoy a scenic little bike ride
Or a new adventure you've always wished you've tried
A park isn't the only outdoor place you can enjoy
Your own swimming pool is a great too with an old tire tube toy
There you can play hours of "Marco Polo"
Or see how your splashes go
Just don't forget to wear sunscreen
Or your results will be red & burn, if you get what I mean
& always , always drink lots of water
Especially when the weather gets hotter
Staying hydrated is without a doubt the best
No need for you body's limits to be put to the test
Back when I was young & carefree
Inside was the last place I wanted to be
Sunrise to sunset outdoors running around
There were times where I even rolled on the ground
As day turned to dusk & the sun was almost gone
That's when the street lights came on
Ending my day covered from head to toe in dirt
& a grass stained T-Shirt
I had an abundant amount of fun
& hated having that day already be done
I was one of the boys for a long time
But smart enough to let them commit any crime
No girls lived on my street at first
& I thought that was just the worst
But I could easily keep up with the boys & their plans
Daily, I'd quickly throw on & tie tight my vans
Riding through all the empty fields & dirt mounds used to jump
Houses being newly built & just a wood frame
Look back now, we had so many adventures & no one of them the same
FINALLY a girl moved in, just my age too
I was excited to the max, more than she ever knew
Barbies was mostly our pick for entertainment
Even outside we'd play them, so many hours we spent
Lego forts we're sleep over fun, that's for sure
So many memories & good times I created with her

2014 is the current year
Children's idea for "fun" is something I fear
Technology is always evolving & growing
& its dependency is definitely showing
Instead of coming home when the street lights come on
Sending a text is the new tradition
Actual words are becoming eliminated
& ridiculously being abbreviated
Which is causing normal speaking to sound absurd
Sometimes it's too horrible & unable to decipher what you've heard
Thanks electronics for advancing & inventing a new language
Now we talk like we have severe brain damage
"Dats Cray, Cray she's my bae"
Uuuuuhhhh WHAT THE **** DID YOU SAY?
Translation: "That's crazy, she's my babe" is what they said
Seriously, they are sounding more & more uneducated
Everyone now has a phone glued to their hand
It's a new trend that I'll never understand
Electronically we're being defeated
Not realizing it's not always needed
Like on a beautiful day & the weather is just perfect
Don't close your blinds because the sunshine you're trying to reject
Instead shut off that power ******* device
Fresh air is waiting & the breeze is nice
Computer games & all those gaming console
Are just disguised as good clean fun but actually they're slowly killing souls
One by one
Until the last one is done
We're just slaves to our electronics
No longer needing hooked on phonics
Dictionaries were quickly replaced
"Just google it" is now popularly phrased
As the years continue to progress
Electronics will advance & more will just obsess
It is kind of like when you're scrolling through a social media board
Reading the latest status your friend posted & beautifully poured
& trying to put down your phone for a bit
But it only managed to last a minute
Not a single change, how lame
So you hit refresh over & over but still nothing changed
All the while hoping some things would've rearranged
Desperate for some kind of excitement or some entertainment
Staring at the screen
Which displays nothing new to be seen
You're wasting your day
You don't want to forever live this way
Missing adventures you could've had, but gave them no chances
A screen brightly glowing hypnotized you, not allowing any reality glances
It puts you secretly in a trance that will mesmerized
Forgetting to blink, helpless they become are your eyes
Don't let it get to that part of no return
& remember what, a long the way you did happen to learn
Control your mind & don't let technology completely drain you...
Electronically free let's you experience all the possibilities you can do
All the new things you can try
...As long as you occasionally disconnect from WIFI
Sorry it's so long
Aaron Kerman Jan 2010
“Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”- Alice in Wonderland

“Everyone knows it’s a race, but no one’s sure of the finish line.”
        -Dean Young, “Whale Watch”

1a
Children rarely listen to any armchair advice from their immediate family, relatives they commonly have contact with or anyone they haven’t known for more than a couple years because in kindergarten or day care they often got gold stars just for showing up… Little glittering prizes plastered on poster boards in elementary school classrooms regardless of grades or mistakes…


1b
On the windy day when you lower the green jet-ski instead of the good one, race it to the north end, out of the safety of the bay, into the choppy waters, you’ll get bullied by the wave’s splash like the cattails of a whip. The lake will overwhelm you; you’ll inhale some of the water,  a sharp pain will course through your body as you try to breathe those short shallow breaths, which you will force yourself to do as seldom as possible. You will cough and keel over on the craft; It’s not uncommon to spit up blood; you will have to return to the dock and raise the jet-ski back onto the boatlift.  You will stub your toe on the cracks in the planking, stumble and get a splinter in the ball of your foot heading towards the deck but won’t notice. All feeling numbs against water trapped inside your lungs.


1c
Jackie Paper’s mother made him a hotdog with potato chips and served it to him on a plastic plate outside so he could enjoy it on the newly refinished deck while he watched the schooners and speedboats, stingray’s and ski-nautique’s jet in and out of the bay. He didn’t wait five minutes after he finished to fly from the deck onto the dock into the water where he free styled too far and got a cramp. His mother almost lost a son that day.



2a
If wet some recommend running around the shore of the lake until the air has thoroughly dried you off. Listening to the gulls dive and racing through the varying levels of grass on the neighbors’ unkempt lawns, in between the oaks and elms, keeping ever mindful the sticks and stones and acorns that litter the ground in lieu of stubbed toes or splinters. You will most likely fail, but you will get dry.


2b
When you **** your big toe on the zebra mussels while wading in the shallows, near the seawall beside the dock, trying to catch crayfish and minnows darting between the stones underneath the water, and the blood doesn’t stop flowing for 10 minutes and the H2O2 bubbles burgundy on the decks maple woodwork, instead of that off white color it usually bubbles, and stings something awful, don’t be a little ***** about it.  It’s your own fault for leaving your aqua-socks on the green marbled tiles in the foyer closet next to the bathroom; where you changed into your bathing suit and got the bottle of peroxide.


2c
Last winter Christopher Robbins drove his red pickup on the ice (near the island, towards the North end, where even when it’s been freezing for weeks the frozen water seldom exceeds six inches in thickness) at night and fell through.  He felt the cold water enter his lungs.  Although it was snowing and no one had noticed he survived; it took him the whole of an hour to reach the nearest house and call home; he lost his truck and suffered from severe hypothermia and acute pneumonia. At the hospital it was determined that while there was ample evidence of the early onset of frostbite in his extremities, amputation would not be necessary.


3a
While sitting Indian style on the dock next to your friends, settled on the plastic furniture, sipping whiskey and beer, comparing scars assume, no matter whose company you’re in, that yours are the smallest. Those cigarette burns running down the length of your right forearm are self-inflicted and old- reminders that you haven’t had to force yourself to breathe in quite some time.

3b
When you jump off the end of the dock you’ll forget to keep your knees loose because you were running on the wooden planks trying to avoid the white weather worn and dirtied dock chairs and worrying about getting a splinter. The water is inviting but during the summer the depth is only three feet four inches. You will roll your ankle at the very least and probably sprain it because, Like an *******, you locked your knees and jumped without looking.


3c
Two summers ago Alice was tubing behind a blue Crown Royal when she hit the wake at an awkward angle and flew head first into the water in the bay a few hundred feet off the dock at dusk. The spotter and driver simply weren’t watching and the wave-runner didn’t see her due to the advancing darkness.  She cracked her head open on the bottom of its hull; swallowed water.  She needed 70 stitches and several staples but Alice made a full recovery.


4
Mothers often tell their children to should chew their food 40 times before swallowing to aid digestion and to wait a full half hour after eating before engaging in physical activity. Especially swimming.


5
When you’re at the lake house this summer skipping stones swimming and running on the dock remember not to listen to any advice.  

If this were a race to get dry you’d be much closer to first than last.

The internal bleeding eventually stops.  The splinters all get pulled out, staples and stitches are removed, lacerations heal and the feeling returns to the fingers and toes.

The water eventually drains from the lungs and only the scars remain:

Gold stars on poster boards;

because everybody has won, and all must have prizes.
Julie Grenness Jan 2017
Yes, it's nearly that's time of year,
Australia Day soon, my dears,
Patriotism in the right place,
Smiles on the Aussies' face,
We all come from the human race,
No need for such paranoia,
Racists are sent to annoy ya!
Let's unite for one day of the year,
Advancing Australia, my dears!
Feedback welcome.
Jude kyrie Oct 2016
Windchimes

A story of advancing years

And loss

By

Jude kyrie

In my advancing years
Clarity eludes me now and then
I sit quietly in the gazebo.
Your book and glasses
not yet removed from your seat.

Drifting into sleep I awaken suddenly.
with confusion reigning again.
I quietly call your name
The need to see you is overwhelming.
I search the gardens for you
Panic setting in to my confused heart.

Then in the cool evening summer breeze.
The gentle chiming of the windchimes
Calm my panic as your soft gentle words once did.

Then under the fragrant blooming arches
of the rose arbor I see you.
A basket of cut flowers hang from your arm.
The fading light from the evening sun.
Frames a halo about your long hair.

My eyes mist
So sweet so astoundingly beautiful.
As calm as the mist on a summer's morn.
You smile at me
The windchimes chime softly in the still air.

You tell me
the sweet wudruff is taking over
The hollyhocks need trimming
And the roses need pruning

You tell me all of these things.
But all I see is your sweet heart of purest gold.
The rose arbor framing the light of my life.
Glowing as the sun
at the Centre of my small universe.

I fall to my knees to pay homage to you.
As you fade away into the evening shadows.
Just the lilt of the windchimes
Dance softlly over the perfumed bounty
of our flowering gardens
For all suffering the horrible loss of dementia.
Blessing
Jude
The clouds as I see them, rising
urgently, roseate in the
mounting of somber power


surging in evening haste over
roofs and hermetic
grim walls—


Last night
As if death had lit a pale light
in your flesh, your flesh
was cold to my touch, or not cold
but cool, cooling, as if the last traces
of warmth were still fading in you.
My thigh burned in cold fear where
yours touched it.


But I forced to mind my vision of a sky
close and enclosed, unlike the space in which these clouds move—
a sky of gray mist it appeared—
and how looking intently at it we saw
its gray was not gray but a milky white
in which radiant traces of opal greens,
fiery blues, gleamed, faded, gleamed again,
and how only then, seeing the color in the gray,
a field sprang into sight, extending
between where we stood and the horizon,


a field of freshest deep spiring grass
starred with dandelions,
green and gold
gold and green alternating in closewoven
chords, madrigal field.


Is death’s chill that visited our bed
other than what it seemed, is it
a gray to be watched keenly?


Wiping my glasses and leaning westward,
clearing my mind of the day’s mist and leaning
into myself to see
the colors of truth


I watch the clouds as I see them
in pomp advancing, pursuing
the fallen sun.
Last night she came into my bed
in the dead hours before the light snook into my eyes and through the shadows lined up like labourers on the walls in my head.
She woke me into another dream I'd had some years before and as I stuttered to form the words to speak to her,
she shared with me,
a picture,some melody I remembered vaguely
which though nice was rather sad.

Quite glad that being well prepared for these invasions of the night, I had snared a little spot,not too cold,not too hot and we could tot up what we got up too, as morning grew into the day it would become.

It's like I won some inter-universal game of chance,first prize,last chance of romance and I have glanced quickly through the rules,
as fool as I am,not sure how to be a man and anyway I never knew what the plan would be
or if entering this game of chance was free or would there be a fee to pay.
She took my mind away from thoughts like this and in that first kiss when my body being in overdrive felt like I'd arrive before I'd even left
she put me back to idle speed
and now in idling how I need her more to stamp the accelerator to the floor and race me on to that place where all doubts have gone and we will get there
in time to share cakes and teas and
indulge ourself in pleasantries.

Tonight I need her to come again
to come with me upon the dead hour train that speeds through lifetimes,through those windowed pains that although washed and cleaned have dreamed of sordid sights in more sordid nights and now
and now
the train of thought has stopped
this malady crops up from time to time
and I say that 'my memory's fine'
but then I would.
I want my caller in the night to think that I'm so good and not affected by that infection,age
she might
not notice line and wrinkles that twinkle in the star or moonlight
or she might.
I make light of this and wait for more,just one kiss more
one kiss I guess is more than less
one kiss
and then I sleep.

— The End —